How much is your personal injury claim worth? Like so much in life, it depends. Before we get into the ins and outs of determining what your claim may be worth, it’s important to know there is no magic calculator to quickly estimate a case’s value. Rather, accurately calculating an individual case’s value requires an experienced personal injury lawyer to navigate the details of that case to ultimately lead to the best possible outcome.
There are many examples of personal injuries that can, out of the blue, affect one’s life:
- Auto accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Boat Accidents
- Bus accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective products
- Dog bites
- Employment incidents
- Insurance bad faith
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Premises liability
- Truck accidents
- Wrongful death
There are several parties involved in determining the ultimate value of a personal injury case. The insurance company representing the at-fault individual will want to minimize its costs by minimizing your claim. Insurance companies typically claim a case is worth far less than what it may actually be worth. Your lawyer has a vested interest in recovering the full value of your case, covering all actual and future costs and damages for pain and suffering, lost wages (including future losses), etc. Your vested interest, of course, is to restore the lives of you and your family members as best as possible, given your particular circumstances.
Ultimately, a personal injury lawsuit can be ended through negotiation and/or mediation, or it could end up in court with a judge or jury determining how much your claim is actually worth. Having a highly-experienced lawyer on your side is vital to identifying the value of your case and taking the many steps to make sure your rights and compensation are just.
What are some of the factors that determine my case’s value?
There are many factors that go into determining the value of a personal injury case. Typically, it’s a complex process that requires significant research and answers before that value can be determined. Factors include:
- The severity of your particular injury
- The length of time estimated for your recovery
- Whether or not you will fully recover
- Whether or not there was property damage or loss involved
- Lost wages since the accident and projected lost wages in the future
- Accurate medical diagnosis regarding your condition and any needed future medical care
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
The average person simply is not equipped to know what to include or how to accurately calculate the monetary compensation for each component. Leaving out one or several pieces can mean the difference between a just settlement versus one that may haunt you for the rest of your life.
What are some expenses that I may incur because of my personal injury?
After you’ve sustained a personal injury, you’ll likely immediately have thoughts of expenses. How much is this going to cost? How many medical bills will start rolling in, and will my insurance cover them? What if I don’t recover fully and I can’t work in my profession again? It’s a scary situation for anyone. To get the injured person full and fair compensation, an experienced lawyer knows how to create and calculate an accurate, comprehensive set of expenses, such as:
- Immediate, emergency medical care (attending physicians, hospital, specialists, etc.)
- Ambulance and ER fees
- Diagnostic exams and testing
- Post-event follow-up visits
- Ongoing medical care
- Physical therapy services
- Nursing or in-home services
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Not every case will incur the same expenses or have all of the components as touched on, above. Beyond these examples, there are also other expenses that may be incurred, such as investigators working on your case and experts to testify about your medical condition(s) and its ramifications.
The bottom line is that personal injury cases are complex, and placing a value on a particular case is difficult and time-consuming. By working with a qualified personal injury lawyer, your case will receive the expertise, time, and attention to detail required to battle for a just settlement, one that truly reflects your needs based on your injury and its effect on your life and that of your family.
When you are involved in a personal injury incident, it is imperative to seek legal help immediately after emergency care is sought. You’ll need legal guidance very early on that will affect the value of your case and its ultimate outcome.