The victim of a motor vehicle accident often suffers more than just physical injuries – although those physical injuries can be serious. A victim may also suffer emotional injuries and financial hardship following the accident. While we routinely use the term “car accident,” the truth is that more times than not the collision as not a true accident but was the result of negligence on the part of at least one party involved in the crash. If you were recently injured in a collision in the State of Tennessee, and you believe another party caused the crash, you may be entitled to recover damages for all your injuries. Understandably, that may lead you to wonder how much your case is worth. Given the unique and highly individual nature of a collision, the best way to determine the value of your actual case is to have an experienced car accident attorney evaluate your case. In the meantime, however, a Smyrna auto accident attorney explains some of the common factors that help determine the value of an auto accident case.
Who Was at Fault – Understanding the Concept of Negligence
In order for you to be entitled to recover anything from your car accident case, another party must have caused, or contributed, to the collision. In legal terms, this is referred to as “negligence.” The State of Tennessee uses a comparative negligence standard which means that if you were partially at fault for the collision you can still recover damages from the other party; however, the amount you recover will be adjusted according to your level of negligence. For example, let’s say that you incurred $50,000 worth of damages in the accident, but you were also 20 percent at fault. Your damages award would be reduced by 20 percent, resulting in a recovery of $40,000 instead of $50,000.
If the other party admits negligence relatively early on, it will be much easier for your attorney to negotiate an out of court settlement. If the other party denies being negligent, your case will end up going to trial where a judge or jury will decide the issue of negligence. Most cases are settled out of court though.
Your Economic Damages
Think of economic damages as out of pocket expenses for which you can provide objective proof of the value. This typically includes things such as medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and lost wages. The severity of your injuries will be relevant here. Not only can you consider bills you already incurred, but you can also take into account future expenses if your injuries were severe enough that you are relatively sure to have future expenses. For example, if your injuries will likely require additional surgeries down the road or if your injuries have caused a permanent loss of income, these can also be considered when determining the value of your case.
Non-economic damages are what people commonly refer to as “pain and suffering,” though they actually include more than that. In Tennessee, non-economic damages include “physical and emotional pain; suffering; inconvenience; physical impairment; disfigurement; mental anguish; emotional distress; loss of society, companionship, and consortium; injury to reputation; humiliation; non-economic effects of disability, including loss of enjoyment of normal activities, benefits and pleasures of life and loss of mental or physical health, well-being or bodily functions; and all other non-pecuniary losses of any kind or nature.”
Contrary to popular belief, there is no “magic formula” for calculating the value of non-economic damages. Because they are subjective in nature, they are also much more difficult to value. Things such as the severity of your physical injuries, your age and general health prior to the accident, and your overall lifestyle will have an impact on the value of your non-economic damages.
Working with a Smyrna Auto Accident Attorney
If you were recently involved in a collision, the best thing you can do for you, and for your future, is to consult with a Smyrna auto accident attorney right away. The earlier you contact an attorney, the better that attorney can protect you and your right to recover damages for your injuries.
If you have been injured in an auto accident in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Smyrna auto accident attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.