It depends. This is a question that we get from clients in the majority of our personal injury cases, whether it’s an auto accident, 18-wheeler crash, slip and fall, nursing home injury, medical malpractice, or even a death case, which is valued differently from an injury case.
The truth is, injury cases are about people, and because all people are different, all cases are different—each case depends on its own facts and circumstances. There are so many factors that must be considered, the most important of which we list later. But first, let’s talk about when we start looking at what your injury case is worth.
Don’t Jump The Gun
Early on in a personal injury case, it is the most difficult to tell what a good settlement amount will be, for two critical reasons:
- Ongoing medical treatment. You may not be done with all medical treatment. Thus we do not know the full extent of your bills, and more importantly, we don’t know whether you have any permanent injuries for which we can seek compensation.
- Insurance coverage. Often, at the start of a personal injury case—especially auto accident cases—we are unaware of what insurance coverage is available. (One of the great tragedies we see for car crash victims is when there is not enough insurance to cover their loss…which is why we encourage you to get the most important auto insurance available to you .)
From that point, we begin our investigation into the specifics of your case. Those details are what will really allow us to put a dollar figure on the losses you have suffered. So along the way, we begin to develop evidence that will enable us to get you the most compensation possible in your settlement or verdict.
Seven Factors in Valuing Most Personal Injury Cases
In almost every case, we look at seven details in order to assign a proper value to your total injuries. Again, this is just how we initially approach the average case; what we discover along the way will suggest other areas to explore.
Those seven key factors:
1.Evidence of fault, including any fault on your part, which can reduce your settlement…or sometimes prevent any recovery at all.
2.The extent of your injuries. The worse the injury, the greater the potential settlement value. That’s why we look with a keen eye at whether any injuries you suffer can be permanent, or even cause permanent conditions later. It’s a vital reason why you’ve got to be honest with your doctor and why we need your doctor as an integral part of your case.
3.Whether you’ll need future medical care.
4.The amount of medical bills—and not just the amount your health insurance pays.
5.Whether the at fault party was reckless or breaking the law at the time you were injured, which could lead to punitive damages. And yes, if the evidence is presented the right way, you can get a settlement taking punitive damages into account.
6.The income or wages you lost as a result of your injuries. This generally requires a doctor’s excuse. It’s not just a measure of the financial impact of your injuries. Most of our clients are hardworking people determined to fulfill their responsibilities, so being forced out of work also displays how badly they got hurt.
7.Possibly the biggest part of your case that’s also hardest to prove—human loss. You’ve probably heard it described as “pain and suffering,” or “noneconomic damages.” We prefer to call it human loss because this aspect of compensation makes up for the loss to you as a person. Human loss contains its own set of factors that can be as unique to your case as you are a person, because that’s what your case is about—you.
It bears repeating: this list of seven factors is not meant to be exhaustive. These are some of the basic things we look for when evaluating your case.
It May Be Harder Than It Looks, So Let Us Make It Easy On You
Does it sound exhausting to compile all this evidence, especially the technical medical stuff? It is, for most folks. For us, it’s another good day’s work. And we know the work’s got to be done right, because seriously injured folks face skeptical juries who’ve seen too many TV commercials with actors flashing big smiles saying they got hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars for his injury case.
We know that’s misleading. In reality, being severely injured or suffering the death of a loved one is nothing to smile about. We take it seriously, to deliver your legal care with same determination and devotion you expect from medical caregivers. That’s why we go to great lengths to understand you, your injuries, and the effect they have on your life, then, now, and going forward.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of somebody else, do not go at it alone. The stakes are high. There are so many factors and variables to be weighed, and the system is complicated. If you need a lawyer, please contact the lawyers at Holland & Usry, PA, at (864) 582-0416 or toll-free at (888) 230-1841 for your free, confidential consultation.