How much is my case worth?
This is a question that I am often asked by a new or prospective client who has been injured in an accident, whether it be a motor vehicle accident, a slip or trip and fall, or other type of personal injury case. The “value” of your case will depend upon many factors and it would be near to impossible for an attorney to advise any client in the very early stages of the case what their claim is worth as it takes time for the attorney to gather information that would aid the attorney in case valuation.
There is no table or formula that can be used to predict what a case is worth to a particular accident victim, as all cases are different. If you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to be compensated for your damages. Your damages consist of your past and future medical expenses related to the injury or injuries you sustained in the accident, your past and future lost of income or earning capacity (if you lost income or ability to earn a living due to your injuries) and your past and future pain and suffering.
If your case goes to court and eventually a jury trial, medical expenses and income or wage loss can be explained to a jury by introducing into evidence medical bills, and providing testimony from your medical experts. Evidence of wage loss is present through your testimony and the testimony of an economist and/or vocational rehabilitation expert. There is no table or formula to determine the value of a person’s pain and suffering and the jury decides what your pain and suffering is worth. This “pain and suffering” amount depends upon a number of things that the jury will consider including, but not limited to: the seriousness of your injuries, whether or not the jury believes your testifying experts and how you come across as a plaintiff before the jury (in other words, is the plaintiff likeable and believable).
If your attorney is attempting to settle your case, your attorney will look at numerous factors when advising you whether or not any offer of settlement from the negligent party’s attorney or insurance adjuster is reasonable or unreasonable including but not limited to:
- type of injuries
- whether you had surgery or a recommendation for surgery
- total medical bills
- estimated future medical bills
- wage loss, if any
- whether or not you are partly at fault for the accident
- if it is a motor vehicle accident, the amount of damage to vehicles involved in the accident
- whether or not you have prior injuries or accidents
- the amount of insurance available to compensate you for your damages
The above are just some of the factors to be considered. An experience personal injury attorney will be able to give you advice and help you decide whether or not to settle your case.