These Factors Influence How Much a Personal Injury Case Is Worth
No two personal injury cases are the same, but there are key factors that can give you insight into what your particular case might be worth. The purpose of a settlement or award given in a personal injury lawsuit is to help the injured person rebuild their life to what it was before the accident or injury, as much as possible.
The worth of your personal injury case will be influenced by:
- Medical expenses you've already incurred
- Whether you need future treatment, care, or therapy
- How much money you lost from missed work
- Whether you will be unable to return to the same field
- Whether you cannot return to work at all
- Any emotional trauma you've experienced
- Other expenses or impacts that the injury has had or will have on your life
Catastrophic injuries like burns, amputation, spinal cord trauma, and brain injuries require extensive treatment and may impact all areas of a person's life. Cases like these often involve higher settlements or awards because of the sheer amount of care a person will need for the rest of their life, plus their injury's impact on their ability to work and earn a living. Part of determining the fair value of a personal injury lawsuit is analyzing what it will take for the injured person and their family to face a brighter and more stable future.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
The worth of a personal injury case will depend largely on the losses that the plaintiff (injured party) has experienced, and these can be classified as economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages are generally easier to calculate because they are visible, tangible losses. Hospital bills, the cost of medical supplies, lost earnings from missed work, and even future losses like ongoing treatment or an inability to earn a living may all be considered economic damages. Non-economic damages are a little more difficult to determine.
Non-economic damages address the other ways that a serious injury will affect a person's life. They can be difficult to quantify, but they are no less important to the worth of a personal injury case than economic damages. Physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, psychological trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress are all examples of harm that non-economic damages would compensate a victim for.
There is a third category of damages that will apply only in rare circumstances. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party in a personal injury case. They may apply in situations where defendants acted with intent to cause harm, where gross negligence occurred, or where extreme recklessness caused an injury or death. In addition to penalizing at-fault parties, punitive damages serve as a warning to others what may happen if they commit similar wrongs. If you want to know whether punitive damages will affect what your personal injury case is worth, be sure to ask your attorney.
How Fault Influences the Value of a Personal Injury Claim
There is another factor that will influence what a personal injury claim is worth: fault. This refers to who is legally responsible for your injuries; who caused you harm. Even when an injury is unintentional, someone can be "at fault" for causing it. A careless driver, for example, would still be at fault for hitting a pedestrian even if they did not mean for it to happen. The party (or parties) who are to blame for your injuries should be held accountable. If it is more than one party, they may each pay a percentage of your personal injury claim.
Depending on where your case is filed, if you are found to be partially responsible for the incident that caused you harm, the value of your claim could be reduced. This is based on the principle of "comparative negligence." This can affect what your personal injury case is worth because your overall settlement or award could be reduced by whatever percentage you were found to be at fault. If you were 10% to blame and the settlement was $10,000, for example, the other party would be responsible for paying the 90% ($9,000.)
Because every situation is different, your best option is to ask your lawyer what your personal injury case is worth.
Can You Tell Me What My Personal Injury Case Is Worth Right Now?
It is near impossible to determine the exact amount that you may be able to recover because of the countless unique factors particular to every case. If you were injured on the job at the fault of your employer and you had to take time off of work, it is likely that you will be compensated for your lost wages during your recovery time. Another thing that likely would be compensated for would be necessary medical expenses. Again, varying case to case, but it is likely you will at least get your medical expenses relating to said injury covered.
To accomplish that objective, your claim must be thoroughly investigated and analyzed by professionals, including consulting with experts and researching databases that will help to determine the fair amount for your type of claim. This preparation not only helps when in front of a judge, jury or arbitration panel, but it also gives a position of strength at the negotiating table when seeking to secure a timely settlement.
Contact Our Leading Trial Lawyers
Arnold & Itkin fights for the rights of the injured. We have earned over $15 billion in life-changing settlements and verdicts for our clients, helping them find better futures after the worst accidents and injuries. From truck accidents to industrial injuries to offshore accidents and everything in between, our trial lawyers have pushed and fought for the results that make a difference. Now is the time to learn how we can help you.
To learn more about the potential value of your case, call Arnold & Itkin at (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation.