What Factors Affect the Value of a Car Accident Claim?

man driving car

Several factors can affect the value of your personal injury car accident case. In the blog, we’ll talk about how the extent and visibility of your injury, how willing the jury is to be sympathetic, and how likable you are as a witness all have an impact on the compensation you can expect to see. Please keep reading to have a more informed understanding of your own potential claim, and remember to get in touch with a San Mateo County car accident lawyer if you’ve recently been in a car accident.

Car Accident Value Factor #1: The Visibility of Your Injury and Its Related Losses

You might reasonably assume that a more severe injury or higher medical bills increase the value of your claim. Unfortunately, juries sometimes approach the issue differently. If you have a whiplash kind of spinal injury, with degenerative effects sending cascades of negative consequences to you during the rest of your life, you might still see less in compensation than if you had a fractured arm that heals after a couple of months. And that may happen regardless of the reality that the medical bills in the first scenario would be three to five times higher.

Jurors tend to react more favorably to easily visible injuries. X-rays of fractured arms provide an important visual aid that jurors may respond well to. On the other hand, a whiplash kind of spinal injury causes pain and discomfort to you without being visible to the jury. Focused on the present, they may not accept the argument that a whiplash injury causes long-lasting spinal degeneration and other complications.

Factor #2: How Sympathetic the Jury Is

Visible and clearly identifiable injuries tend to play better with juries as it plays into individuals’ sense of sympathy. As in the above paragraph, every factor that affects how much the jury sympathizes with you may affect the value of your claim.

If the jury likes you, they are more likely to reward your claim. If they feel empathy for you, that may benefit you, versus if the jury brings prejudices against who you are and what your claim is. When a juror has been in an accident like yours or known someone with a similar injury, that may benefit you.

Factor #3: What Kind of a Witness You Are

Continuing the theme of jury sympathy being important to your claim, how you act as a witness is also going to affect the value of your claim. Following these tips will help you make a better impression.

  • Carefully prepare for your day in court. Make sure that when your court day comes up, you have gathered and organized all relevant information, be they medical records, photographs, or anything else.
  • Try to be as composed as you can. When you give your testimony, you should make an effort to be calm and collected. Witnesses who act defensively or confrontationally tend to lose credibility.
  • Be attentive to the facts. As you explain what happened, avoid conjecture or speculation. If the jury can see that you are focusing on facts and real lived experiences you have, they may see you as more trustworthy.
  • Pay attention to your body language. Body language is at best an imprecise predictor of someone’s actual mental state. So many times a gesture someone can make is specific to the situation and the person’s history and perspectives, making it so the generalization of gestures among more than one person with different situations and histories is highly unlikely to give accurate information to a body language observer. But decades of movies and television shows have unfortunately convinced otherwise, and the jury may very well interpret your credibility as a witness through the lens of how they perceive your body language.
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