Factors That Determine a Personal Injury Claim’s Worth
When you are injured in an accident or event that was not your fault, it is only natural to seek compensation for your injuries from the person or people responsible. No matter the extent of your injuries, your quality of life was likely affected either through a lengthy and sometimes painful recovery, financial strain, or both.
It can be initially difficult to determine the value of your injury claim in many situations. In order to properly value your case, a personal injury lawyer must consider a variety of factors, subjective and non-subjective, that combine to help assess how much your injuries and damages are worth. While each case is unique, there are some common factors that significantly influence the value of every personal injury case.
Whose Fault Is It?
For many claims, fault may be clear-cut. When the defendant’s liability is crystal clear, it strengthens your case and typically its value. However, if your own conduct contributed to your injury, your case’s value decreases and may even be zero despite the fault of the other driver. For example, if a jury finds the other driver 75% at fault, he would ordinarily pay 75% of your claim. But if he is found only 50% at fault, he would have to pay nothing.
Medical Treatment and Expenses
The nature and extent of your medical treatment plays an important role in valuing your case. If you were subjected to surgery, a broken limb, a lengthy hospital stay, long-term therapy, prescription pain medications and other treatments, your case will likely have a higher value. The opposite is true if you merely visited the chiropractor a few times and took over-the-counter medications to treat the pain.
Of course, if your medical treatments seem out of proportion to your injuries, the value of your claim will be reduced, too. If you claim medical expenses, they must be related to your claimed injuries.
Nature, Severity and Extent of Your Injuries
The truth is that some injuries merit higher case values than others. Tangible injuries that can be readily confirmed by objective evidence – such as a fracture or a pinched nerve — are easier to evaluate than pain or discomfort. For example, x-rays can easily verify a compression fracture, but the strains and sprains caused by whiplash injuries, and the pain they cause, can be much harder to prove.
When you are incapable of working due to your injuries, the amount of wages, salary or profit you lose during that time has a proportional impact on the value of your case. This is one area that is economic and thus not subject to considerable interpretation. You either missed work due to your injury or you did not.
When you can clearly document the amount of income you lost, you have a strong case for reimbursement for those amounts, thus increasing the value of your claim.
Another factor that is also reflected on as economic is the damage your vehicle sustained in the accident. These damages can be assessed and although there might be slight variance in the estimates provided by different repair facilities, the amount that is paid to repair or replace your vehicle will also contribute to the overall worth of your claim.
There are many factors that may influence the value of your injury claim, including the likeability factor of you and the defendant and the quality of potential witnesses. An experienced personal injury attorney can best evaluate your specific facts to help determine a reasonable value for your injury claim. If you have been injured in an accident, call one of the expert Personal Injury Attorneys at McDivitt Law Firm for a FREE consultation.Back to the Blog