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What Types of Compensation May You Collect in Motor Vehicle or Motorcycle Accident Claims?

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident or motorcycle accident, you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries from the insurance company of the driver that caused the accident. Under Washington law, you must show that the driver that caused the accident was negligent or failed to exercise reasonable care in causing the accident.

Compensation available under Washington law includes reasonable and necessary medical expenses caused by the accident, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (injury to the marital relationship), losses for services that you are unable to perform and must hire out due to the injury, out-of-pocket costs for expenses you incur due to your injury, mileage expenses for medical appointments, future medical expenses, loss of wage earning capacity (the ability to continue working in your field), costs of retaining to enter a new field if you are unable to continue working in your current field, and many other types of compensation depending on the particular circumstances of your injury.

Is There a Formula to Determine “Pain and Suffering”?

Many people ask us if there is a “formula” for calculating the value of a “pain and suffering” claim under Washington law. Are pain-and-suffering damages just three times your medical bills? The simple answer is no. The value of your claim is simply a prediction of what a jury of twelve of your peers would award if the case were to proceed to trial.

How is The Value of a Claim Determined?

Both your lawyers and the claims adjusters looking at your claim will attempt to forecast what a jury is likely to award if the case were to proceed to trial. The factors that a jury may consider include, but are not limited to: (1) the type of injury sustained; (2) the amount of pain caused by the injury; (3) whether the pain is constant or intermittent; (4) how long the pain lasts (i.e. is the pain temporary or permanent?); (5) the types of activities that are limited or your are unable to do as a result of the injury (occupational, recreational, and family activities); (6) whether you have had surgery to address the injury; (7) your age and activity level at the time of the injury; and (8) the impact of the injury on your quality of life. These are just some factors that a jury may consider.

Lawyers and insurance adjusters have access to databases that collect awards in other jury verdicts in claims similar to yours and may look at these other cases in an attempt to forecast an award in your case. They also have years of experience in handling claims like yours and know the outcomes of similar claims. Many insurance companies keep careful track of jury verdicts and may also have special claims handling software to forecast what a jury will award in your case. At the end of the day, however, the most important factor in determining what a jury may award is whether the jury wants to award you damages. Are you a credible person? Will the jury believe that you are exaggerated your injury? Are you the type of person that a jury will want to award money damages to? Every claim is different and every injury is not the same. Only an experienced trial lawyer can give you the best forecast of what a jury would award under the particular facts of your case. If you have questions about the type of compensation you may be able to collect, contact our law firm for a free claim evaluation.