Paralegal Post of the Week:

Written by Lancaster and Eure

How much is my auto accident case worth?

The value of a Florida accident case depends on multiple factors and the specific facts of your case. Obviously every case is different, so it is impossible to determine the exact value of a case before it is resolved. The general list of factors that either increase or decrease the value of a Florida accident case can be broken down into three major categories: 1) Liability; 2) Damages and 3) Available insurance coverage or the ability of the at-fault driver and vehicle owner to pay.

One of the most important criteria in determining the value of a Florida accident case is determining who is liable or at-fault for the accident. The reason for this is because Florida is a comparative fault state meaning that the amount of economic and noneconomic damages awarded are reduced proportionately by the percentage of fault by each party. This means that if damages are $100,000, but you are fifty (50) percent at-fault, then the at-fault will still be required to pay $50,000 as compensation.

The next major category that determines the value of a Florida accident case is damages. In order to recover compensation for an auto accident, a plaintiff must prove the existence of damages. Damages may include property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. One thing to consider is that if the injury case involves a motor vehicle, then Florida’s No Fault Laws will govern and without a “permanent injury,” the injured party will likely be unable to file suit against the at-fault party. That being said, below are several factors to consider in determining the amount of damages, which directly affect how much an auto accident case is worth, and include your injuries, age, whether there is a recommendation for surgery, permanent disability and scarring, medical costs and lost wages, pain and suffering and any pre-existing injuries of the plaintiff, among numerous other factors.

Finally, in order for an injured party to receive compensation for an accident, the person or company liable for the accident must personally have the ability to pay or must be covered by sufficient insurance. Otherwise, plaintiff’s only other recourse will be to utilize their uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) policy, assuming they have one. This is why it is crucial for drivers in Florida to maintain a UM policy on their vehicles.