Dewayne Hopson is an attorney in Clarksdale, MS. This article is for informational purposes only and by reading this article you acknowledge this general information should not be construed as legal advice.
The golden question!
“How much do you think my case is worth?” or more directly, “How much money do you think I can get” The answers to these questions depends greatly on a verity of factors in your case. However, the most important factors are the amounts of the medical bills and proving liability.
At first glance, when looking a new car accident or personal injury claim a good indicator of the value of the case is the your medical bills. A good rule of thumb is that a case may settle for 3x the amount of medical bills if the defendant is found at fault. If the medical bills total around 5,000 dollars and the insurance company accepts liability, the client may have a chance of getting around a 15,000 dollar settlement. However, this method of evaluating a case is not guaranteed even if the insurance company accepts fault. Sometimes the amount will be lower or higher. If your case is taken to trial and you are successful, you can even expect to get more than 3x the amount of medical bills.
Liability (Who’s at Fault)
Even with a high amount of medical bills, if you are at fault for the accident the amount you will receive will be smaller than the amount of your actual medical bills. Luckily for Mississippi residences, Mississippi is a Pure Comparative Negligence state which means that even though you may be 60 percent at fault, you can recover 40% of your damages. Even if you are 99% at fault, you can still be compensated for 1% of your damages. Though, when you are at fault in an injury case insurance companies will most likely deny liability you will mostly have to go to court. If your case is hard to prove the required factors at court, you may end up walking away with nothing. No matter who the lawyer is, they cannot “create” facts that will guarantee your victory.
However, insurance companies deny claims all the time even when the facts are on your side. In this situation, it makes more sense to file a lawsuit and head to court even when the insurance company has denied liability or given you a low ball offer. When you are facing these circumstances, your lawyer should be able to recommend to you wither you should decide to walk away or go to trial.
Other Factors (Pain & Suffering, Loss of Income, Long Term Injuries, and Insurance Limits)
Other factors that can potentially increase or limit your possible settlement. Pain & Suffering is allowed in Mississippi courts however, by law they are limited to 1,000,000. Pain & suffering are labeled non-economic damages and go beyond the amount of your medical bills. Potential long-term injuries can also increase your settlement amount. When long term injuries change the way, you live and limit your ability to work in the future, it is only right that you are compensated. You can also be compensated for loss of income due being unable to work while being treated for your injury. These factors are what increases your potential settlement past just medical bills.
Insurance Limits, however can lower the amount of you can receive. In Mississippi, most car accident claims are limited to 25,000 dollars. Reason being that 25,000 is the standard amount of car accident liability insurance that consumers buy in Mississippi. So, even if the defendant is at fault and your medical bills are over 25,000, you can only get 25,000 from the defendant’s insurance policy because of the policy limits. Therefore, it’s smart to buy under insured motorist coverage if its affordable. With under insured motorist coverage you can make a claim against your own insurance company for the amounts that the defendant’s insurance didn’t cover.
At Hopson Law Group we represent clients who are having a tough time dealing with their insurance companies. We can help you get your maximum settlement. You can reach us at 662-624-4100 to set up an appointment for a free consultation to get help with your insurance claim or uninsured motorist claim!