Once you learn that you may recover compensation for a car accident, it is only natural to wonder how much you will ultimately receive. Because each accident case is different, it is impossible to provide an estimate without conducting a thorough analysis of all of the facts of your case. That said, South Carolina law provides for recovery of both economic and non-economic losses, and most car accident victims who are injured (and who are not at fault) can recover damages for medical expenses, property damage, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and lost quality of life.
The following are some factors that can influence how much compensation you ultimately recover.
The Nature and Extent of Your Injuries
The nature and extent of your injuries will also leave a significant impact on the amount of compensation you ultimately recover. Injuries can directly result in pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost quality of life, and certain injuries result in more significant losses than others. For example, minor soft tissue injuries like bruises, cuts, and scrapes will likely require minimal treatments and result in no long-term issues. On the other hand, an accidental amputation will likely result in millions of dollars of medical expenses over the years and will irrevocably change the course of a victim’s life.
When considering the value of your car accident case, you must consider all of the medical bills you have already received, as well as those you may receive in the future in regard to these specific injuries. Bills can be for the following and more:
- Ambulance transportation
- Emergency department treatment
- Imaging tests and other diagnostic tests
- Time spent in the hospital or intensive care unit (ICU)
- Medical equipment
- Surgery and post-operative care
- Physical therapy
- All other forms of rehabilitative therapy
- Appointments with doctors and specialists
- Home health care
- Stays in a rehabilitation facility
Identifying your already-existing medical expenses can take a relatively straightforward path, as you need to add up all of your current medical bills. If your injury has already healed, this may consist of the end of the analysis. However, an attorney can ensure you consider every last cost associated with your injury—including mileage to appointments and other expenses you may not have considered.
If you face ongoing medical care, your attorney can use medical experts and other tools to estimate your future costs. This estimate cannot simply consist of a guess—medical evidence must support that your type of injury generally costs a certain amount of money with time. Hiring a skilled personal injury law firm will help to estimate the full cost of your past and future medical treatments.
Certain jobs pay differently than others. For this reason, if your injuries keep you from working, what you do for a living will affect any settlement or award you receive. You will also need to consider whether you needed any paid or unpaid time off, whether missing work hurt your overall job assignment and future prospects, and more. We will review all of your pay records and determine how much income you have lost to date due to your injuries.
In some cases, a person will never return to the same type of work as before an accident. In that case, you will need to determine how much future earnings you will lose with time. Calculating future lost income is much more complicated than simply multiplying the number of years that person might have worked by a current annual wage or salary. Such estimates must also account for inflation, regular raises, career advancement, bonuses, retirement account matching, and more.
To determine future lost earnings, a skilled attorney can consult with occupational and economic experts to come up with a reasonable amount. In addition, you may need the testimony of a medical expert who can support that your injuries do, in fact, prevent you from returning to your previous position.
Did You Suffer Permanent Injuries?
People with permanent impairments or disabilities from their injuries deserve compensation for that permanency. A permanent injury will change someone’s life—on many levels—forever, and this can result in a variety of losses. The inability to engage in everyday activities, recreational activities or hobbies, or even to care for one’s self can all damage a person’s enjoyment of life. Accident victims often have the right to seek compensation for lost enjoyment of life, loss of consortium with a spouse, and other physical and emotional suffering that accompanies a permanent injury.
These losses can be difficult to quantify, and calculating permanency losses can involve many factors. Considerations include how your impairment harms your life, the physical pain you endure due to the permanent injury or ongoing medical treatments, any emotional injuries you suffered due to your limitations or pain, and many other issues. You need an attorney with experience handling cases that involve catastrophic and permanent injuries.
Whether You Were Partially at Fault for Your Accident
If you were partially at fault for your accident, it may reduce the amount of compensation you recover—or even make it impossible to recover compensation at all. Under South Carolina law, people who are less than 50 percent at fault for an accident may recover compensation, but the court will reduce the amount they recover by their percentage of fault. If they are 50 percent or more at fault, South Carolina law completely bars them from recovering compensation.
Injured in an Accident? Call the Hughey Law Firm for a Free Case Evaluation Today
If a car accident hurt you in the Charleston area, call Hughey law as soon as possible. Our lawyers will evaluate your case at no cost to you. Should you choose us to represent you, we will do everything possible to ensure that you receive as much compensation as possible for your injuries. To schedule an appointment with one of our Charleston car accident lawyers, send us an email or call our office at (843) 881-8644 today.