Sad man sitting with crashed car on background

How Much Is My Case Worth?

Gerstner Adam Law Jan. 25, 2023

Going through an accident can have lasting effects on a person’s life. From physical to emotional injuries, accidents require careful attention to promote healing. Getting fair compensation is a key element in recovering from an accident. That is why accident victims often ask themselves, “How much can I recover after my accident?” Let’s explore the answer to this question. 

Possible Recoverable Damages in Montana 

Damages refer to material losses (i.e., vehicles and property) and personal injuries. Consequently, accident victims have the right to request fair compensation for these damages in Montana.  

There are three main types of recoverable damages to consider: 

  • Economic damages. These damages are quantifiable in monetary terms. Economic damages, such as property loss or medical expenses, can be measured in dollar terms. Therefore, fair compensation involves monetary compensation for material losses and personal injuries. 

  • Non-economic damages. These damages refer to situations that do not have a specific monetary value. For example, anguish and suffering do not have a price tag. Therefore, seeking fair compensation is a subjective matter. 

  • Punitive damages. These damages are awarded to victims as a punishment for the responsible party’s negligence or malice. Please note that punitive damages require proving the responsible party acted intentionally. 

Factors that Determine How Much a Case Is Worth 

Accident victims may think, “how much is my personal injury case worth?” Answering that question boils down to determining economic and non-economic damages while assessing the possibility of punitive damages. 

Here are four factors that determine how much a case is worth: 

  • The extent of damages. This factor refers to material damages and personal injuries. For instance, a wrecked vehicle becoming a total loss or extensive personal injuries play a key role in assigning damages. 

  • Fault. In short, the at-fault party is liable for damages. However, it is crucial to establish the presence of negligence or malice in the liable party’s actions. 

  • Insurance coverage. Insurance coverage may be sufficient to cover damages. However, some circumstances may exceed insurance coverage. The court must then determine how the liable party expects to compensate victims. 

  • Injuries sustained. Personal injuries play a crucial role. Victims requiring extensive medical treatment or long-term care may be entitled to a larger compensation. Additionally, lost wages, pain, suffering, and temporary or permanent disability are additional factors to consider. 

Comparative Fault in Montana 

Montana state law follows the comparative fault rule. This rule considers that multiple parties, including the victim, may have a share in the fault. Therefore, the liable party does not need to be 100% at fault. The victim may share a portion of the fault, as well. 

Consider this situation: 

A driver runs a red light causing an accident. As a result, this driver is at-fault for the accident. Nevertheless, the victim was driving over the speed limit. The court decides that the victim is also partly at-fault as driving below the speed limit might have avoided the accident. 

In this situation, the court determines fault is 80/20. The court orders the liable party to pay $100,000 in damages. However, the victim has a 20% share of fault. Thus, the victim receives $80,000. 

Steps to Take to Maximize Your Compensation 

Getting fair compensation requires careful attention to building a solid case. Here are actions you can take to pursue maximum fair compensation for your injuries. 

  • Hiring a professional personal injury attorney is a major first step. Experienced attorneys know how much victims can realistically receive for their personal injuries. 

  • Seeking medical attention is necessary even with no apparent injuries or symptoms. Unfortunately, symptoms may take days or weeks before they appear. A good rule of thumb is to seek medical attention immediately. 

  • Also, documenting every accident-related issue is necessary. Documentation such as emergency room reports, medical history, police reports, footage, and eyewitness testimony helps build a solid claim. 

  • Above all, accident victims should not take an insurer or liable party’s first offer. Generally, the first offer is a lowball. Accident victims must be prepared to negotiate before settling. 

Work With a Skilled Attorney in Montana 

Don’t settle for a lowball offer. At Gerstner Adam Law, we are prepared to go the extra mile for our clients. Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys to protect your right to fair compensation. From our office in Billings, Montana, we proudly serve those throughout the neighboring areas of Glendive, Miles City, and Sidney. Reach out today to get started.