If you have suffered damages through another’s negligence and have a personal injury claim, it is understandable that you want to know what the value of your case is. Although money may not place you back exactly where you were before the incident, monetary compensation is the only remedy our legal system provides for a personal injury claim. Knowing precisely how much a case is worth can be very difficult, especially early in the proceedings. However, experienced counsel can explain the various factors involved.
The Nature and Extent of Your Injuries
How severely you have been injured is perhaps the single most important factor in determining damages. Although insurance claims adjusters often pressure injured parties into accepting quick settlements, this is seldom beneficial to you, the plaintiff. First of all, certain accidents can result in latent injuries; that is, injuries that are not readily apparent with symptoms that may only arise after some time has passed. Additionally, many injuries require lengthy treatment before optimal recovery is possible or result in permanent conditions. In either case, a thorough investigation into the specifics of your injuries is needed.
Loss of Income
Loss of income is most often tied with severity of injury. It is typically impossible to work for a certain period after an accident, which can be extensive based on the recommended treatments and the nature of work you regularly perform. Variable factors include the level of income you ordinarily receive, your age, whether you are capable of part time work during recovery and whether you have suffered injuries making future employment impossible.
The Issue of Liability
While fault in some accidents can be clearly assigned to one party without serious controversy, many other times liability is a subject of contention. There can be more than one potential defendant, both of whom will certainly point to the other as the one at fault. Perhaps there is a legitimate question as to what happened. And, in some cases, you may be partially responsible for your own injuries. Although, none of these scenarios are an absolute bar to your recovery, they do go to the issue of the strength of your case and ultimately to your case’s ultimate value.
Many people are surprised to learn that they, themselves, become a key component in their case’s value. Although it may seem that as the injured victim you should not be subjected to such scrutiny, your believability and how you likely will perform as a testifying witness if the matter proceeds to trial are critical factors. The reason for this is that despite extensive documentation, medical reports and doctor’s evaluations that will be available in your case, much information can only be provided by your subjective testimony. You must be forthright and consistent throughout in providing the information that is required of you. Similarly, the same standards apply to any witnesses who may be asked to provide verification of your side of the story.
The Defendant’s Insurer
The vast majority of personal injury cases are turned over to the insurance company of the defendant, and the simple truth is that different insurers handle claims differently. Some, as a matter of policy, contest essentially everything and are willing to try cases that could be settled for less than the trail costs. Some play the delay game and push back everything as long as possible. And some will even negotiate in good faith to arrive at an equitable solution.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Advice
No one can predict precisely what your case is worth, but experienced counsel can help you sort through the complex issues and provide the best guidance to assure your rights are protected.