Every DUI accident case will vary in how much it is worth as the value is based on the property damage caused as well as the injuries a victim sustained. However, there are ways a SC personal injury attorney can estimate what a case is worth by looking at the damages a victim might be entitled to receive. For instance, a person may be entitled to collect compensatory damages, which is broken down into two separate categories: economic and noneconomic.
When seeking compensation for economic damages, you may be able to recover money for medical expenses, loss of income and future earnings, and even to repair the property that was damaged. It is generally easier for a personal injury lawyer to determine how much this is worth as it is easily calculated. However, noneconomic are more difficult to calculate as compensation awarded for it is based on your pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and even how the accident has affected your quality of life. Because there is no dollar amount that can be placed on these things, a lawyer will help you determine what would be an appropriate and fair amount to accept.
In order to request that compensatory damages are awarded, you would need a personal injury lawyer to not only help you file a claim with the courts but also gather evidence that proves why you deserve the amount you are seeking.
Now, that you understand compensatory damages, we now move on to punitive damages.
What are punitive damages?
Aside from wanting to hold the individual who caused the accident financially accountable for the pain and suffering they have caused you and/or your family, you may wish to punish them for the harmful behavior they exhibited that will hopefully prevent them from getting behind the wheel drunk ever again. One way to do this is by requesting that punitive damages be awarded on your behalf. Again, this is another form of compensation you may be entitled to, however, it is only awarded when you can prove “by clear and convincing evidence that [his/her] harm was the result of the willful, wanton, or reckless conduct” [Source: South Carolina Legislature].
Now, in order to receive punitive damages, your case must be taken before a judge and jury where it will be determined how much you should be awarded. According to the South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 15-32-510, a jury may take the following into consideration when estimating what your punitive damages are worth:
- The severity of the harm caused by the defendant. In this case, the defendant is the person who has been accused of committing the crime.
- The defendant’s degree of culpability.
- Whether your own conduct contributed to the harm that was caused.
- The existence of similar past conduct.
- The defendant’s ability to pay.
- The likelihood the award will deter the defendant or others from like conduct.
- Whether the defendant was required to pay punitive damages in any state or federal court alleging from the same act.
- Any criminal penalties that have been imposed on the defendant as a result of the same act or course of conduct.
- The amount of any civil fines assessed against the defendant as a result of the same act or course of conduct.
Are you ready to have a SC DUI accident lawyer evaluate what your case is worth?
As you can see, it is difficult to put an exact value on a drunk driving accident case unless all of the above is taken into consideration and a monetary value is determined for each damage you feel you should be awarded. Now, if you are interested in receiving an estimate so that you can an idea as to what you may be entitled to collect given you win your case, you can always contact USAttorneys.com. Our office will be glad to sit down with you to discuss your accident or the incident your loved one has been involved in to help you determine what your case is worth and the steps that will need to be taken in order to recover this amount.
To get a consultation scheduled simply call us at 864-326-3333 and we will be happy to set up a time for you to come in.