What is the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim?

Determining how much your accident injuries are worth is a critical aspect of any accident claim. And it is the part of a claim about which it is most difficult to generalize; the amount depends on your very particular circumstances.   Each case varies and an attorney can assist you in this evaluation.

What Damages Are Compensated?

To determine what your claim is worth, you must first know the things for which you are entitled to compensation. Usually, a person who is liable for an accident -- and therefore his or her liability insurance company -- must pay an injured person for:

• medical care and related expenses
• income lost because of the accident, because of time spent unable to work or undergoing treatment for injuries
• permanent physical disability or disfigurement
• loss of family, social, and educational experiences, including missed school or training, vacation or recreation, or a special event
• emotional damages, such as stress, embarrassment, depression, or strains on family relationships -- for example, the inability to take care of children, anxiety over the effects of an accident on an unborn child, or interference with sexual relations, and
• damaged property.

Who is at Fault?

In most cases, in order to collect on an injury claim in California, you must prove the person who caused the injury was “negligent” – careless and neglectful. In California, you must prove:
• The person who caused your injury owed you a duty not to injure you, but didn’t live up to that    duty
• There was a connection between the other person’s duty to you and your injury
• You suffered damages

The extent each person is at fault is the most important factor affecting how much the insurance company is likely to pay. The damages formula gives you a range of how much your injuries might be worth, but only after you figure in the question of fault do you know the actual compensation value of your claim -- that is, how much an insurance company will pay you.
Determining fault for an accident is not an exact science. But, in most claims, both you and the insurance adjuster will at least have a good idea whether the insured person was entirely at fault, or if you were a little at fault, or if you were a lot at fault. 
If you were careless, and your carelessness contributed to your injury, the amount you can recover will be reduced in proportion to your carelessness, under California comparative negligence law. Whatever that rough percentage of your comparative fault might be -- 10%, 50%, 75% -- is the amount by which the damages formula total will be reduced to arrive at a final figure.

Product Liability

There are three types of product liability cases: negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty.

Negligence  It must be proven that the manufacturer had a duty to sell a safe product. Next, it must be shown that the defendant breached that duty. Then Damages must be proven.

Strict Product Liability  To prevail one must prove that a product is "unreasonably dangerous" - that it has a design or manufacturing defect. Unlike negligence cases, there is no need to prove the manufacturer knew about the danger. Damages must be proven.

Breach of Warranty  The manufacturer or distributor broke a written or implied promise that the goods are free from defects. The types of defects are:
• Manufacturing Defect: The product is well-designed but the way in which it was made makes it unsafe.
• Design Defect: The design of the product is unsafe, so the entire product line is unreasonably dangerous.
• Insufficient Instructions or Warnings: The manufacturer may design a product that's perfectly safe and has no manufacturing defects, but then fails to include proper warnings or instructions for safe operation.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.