Auto Accident Neck Injury Case Valuation
- October 5, 2017
Neck injuries sustained in auto accidents are a common occurrence. Due to their severity, neck injuries can last from many months to many years. You rarely fully recover from neck injuries. Pain is endured on a daily basis. Neck injuries can alter your life significantly. Your quality of life will diminish. Neck injuries can impact your work, family and activities. Dealing with such injuries can lead to depression. These injuries can negatively affect your physical and mental health. If your neck injury is the result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, then file a lawsuit. You need to be compensated for your loss.
A case valuation involves guesstimating three aspects. First, estimate how much a jury might award the person with the neck injury (known as the plaintiff). Then, estimate the amount the person being sued (known as the defendant) would be willing to pay. Finally, estimate the amount that the plaintiff would be willing to accept if a settlement were offered before trial. Two factors play prominent roles in every personal injury valuation case – the severity of the neck injury and the probability that the defendant will be found liable.
Neck injuries range from minor strains and sprains, to whiplash and even neck fractures. Both severity and recovery time can dictate a jury’s verdict and award amount. Hard neck injuries include cervical fractures. Generally, this type of neck injury results in larger settlements than soft tissue injuries like whiplash or pinched nerve.
It makes sense that the type of medical treatment involved in a neck injury can influence the amount of a prospective settlement. A neck injury involving any type of surgery will garner a larger settlement payment than a minor neck injury that requires only a brace as treatment. Plus, neck injuries that are treated by medical doctors are usually viewed as being authentic.
It is difficult to guess how a jury will react in a personal injury case. For the jury, everything is subjective, with the exception of the plaintiff’s medical bills and lost wages. As such, just how accurate will the jury be in determining how much compensation should be awarded? Researching similar neck injury cases could help the jury members with their estimations. But, every case and every jury is different. So, determining the compensation for pain and suffering will be, at best, an informed, educated guess.
The key to valuation is determining how the neck injury will affect the plaintiff’s everyday life. If the plaintiff is an avid tennis player, then her compensation will be higher because she now can no longer enjoy what once pleased her. She has suffered a loss to her quality of life. Also, if she had a preexisting neck injury, then her compensation would probably be reduced because the defendant’s actions probably did not cause all of her pain and suffering.
A case valuation can be conducted by performing a multiple of specials or per diem calculation. The multiple of specials method involves the following three elements:
• Medical bills
• Lost income
• Pain and suffering
These three elements are known as special damages, or specials. A settlement value is arrived at by multiplying the medical bills and lost income by 1 ½ to 4, depending upon the circumstances of the case.
For example, you sustained a neck injury in a car accident. Your medical bills totaled $5,000 and you did not work for one week, which cost you $2,000. Your special damages total is $7,000. Now, depending upon other factors in the case, the settlement value would be between $10,500 (1 ½ * special damages) and $28,000 (4 * special damages).
Per diem is another way to calculate a settlement value. This method involves calculating your pain and suffering by attaching a per diem (per day, week, month) value to it and then adding that amount to your specials.
For example, let’s say that you place an amount of $4,000 on each month until your treatment ends. But, when your treatment ended, you continued to have symptoms. So, you placed an amount of $2,500 on each month thereafter.
Your specials are still $7,000. You received treatment for your neck injury for three months. And, you continued to experience symptoms for another two months. Afterwards, you were fine.
Using the per diem method, the amount for pain and suffering is $17,000. And, the total settlement value is $24,000.