Somewhere between 20-50 million people in the U.S. are injured in car accidents every year. Although many of these injuries were likely suffered by the driver at fault, many were also suffered by drivers and passengers who weren’t at fault. These injuries, some minor and some major, all provide an opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit — but are they all worth pursuing?
If you’ve recently been injured in a car accident, it’s important to know whether your injuries are worth taking action in the form of a personal injury claim. Contacting a trusted personal injury lawyer following your accident can help you determine this fairly quickly.
Has the Injury Caused Pain and Suffering?
The primary question you should ask in order to determine whether your injuries are worth filing a personal injury claim is this: Has my injury caused pain and suffering, or negatively affected my life in a noticeable way? Pain and suffering damages refer to the physical and mental discomfort accompanying the injury, such as:
- Physical or emotional pain
- Emotional distress
- Loss of society or companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of your normal activities
- Mental anguish
While it is easy to claim that you experienced “pain and suffering” in even the most minor car accident that resulted in minor injuries or no injuries at all, small bruises or light abrasions that didn’t warrant immediate or long-term medical attention typically aren’t enough to win a personal injury case. This is because they often don’t have lasting effects, hinder your ability to work, or cause significant mental trauma compared to more severe car accident claims.
If your injuries were severe and did warrant medical attention, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately and seek compensation for your injuries.
Threshold injuries are a serious category of injuries that are either permanent or limit a person’s ability to do normal activities for a significant period of time. These types of injuries are almost always worth pursuing a claim if the accident was caused by negligence. Threshold injuries can vary from state to state, but several are common nationally. More severe threshold injuries can include bone fractures, scarring, amputation, severe burns, paralysis, loss of a body organ, or death.
Are Your Medical Costs Significant?
If your injuries required hospitalization, ongoing treatment, or other related costs, you should definitely consider filing a personal injury claim. This is part of the “economic” damages that are more easily proven because they involve direct costs and include documentation that can be used as evidence. If you have acquired significant medical bills due to the injuries suffered in a car accident, then it’s worth filing a personal injury claim. On the other hand, if you didn’t require immediate medical attention and only have minor costs (such as one doctor’s visit for a minor injury) following the accident, filing a claim is likely not worth the time.
Did Your Injuries Prevent You From Working or Hinder Your Income?
Lost wages is another type of “economic” damage involved in a personal injury claim. If your injuries were severe enough to keep you from working and earning a significant amount of income, you should consider filing a claim. On the contrary, it’s probably not worth filing a claim if you only missed out on a small amount of income or choose to miss work for reasons apart from your injury.
It’s Not Always About Injuries
Sometimes bad car accidents result in no injuries at all. Keep in mind that damages to property, including personal items inside your vehicle, can be cause for filing a claim if the accident was due to negligence. If the accident wasn’t due to negligence, and you didn’t suffer injuries, it’s probably best to file a simple auto insurance claim.
In the same token, if the accident was severe enough to cause you truly significant mental trauma, you have every right to consider and pursue a personal injury claim.
Get Advice from a Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have any questions about whether your car accident damages are worth filing a personal injury claim, you should get advice from a trusted personal injury lawyer immediately. An experienced attorney can evaluate the details of your case and provide a ballpark estimate of how much your case is worth or whether it’s worth pursuing at all.
With more than 20 years of experience, G. Turner Howard III has helped many Tennesseans receive millions of dollars for personal injury, and in many cases, much faster than they ever expected. Contact our team for a free consultation today and get the money you deserve.
G. Turner Howard III is one of the most experienced personal injury lawyers in Knoxville, TN. He has earned an outstanding reputation through positive results and relationships with satisfied clients. That reputation is rewarded with the most Five-Star reviews by clients of any personal injury lawyer in the region. After spending his secondary years of study at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, G Turner Howard III earned his BA at Tulane University. A member of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, he received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. He also served as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army in Vietnam.