Folks injured accidents frequently want to know how much their case is worth? In fact, this is possibly one of the most common questions asked by personal injury clients. As Michigan City, Indiana injury lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino wants you to understand exactly what goes into determining the value of a case. This information will help you understand all aspects of your negligence case from start to finish.
Your Economic Losses
Guy S. DiMartino wants to be upfront about the Personal Injury claim calculations process. Ultimately, if your case goes to trial, the jury will apply the facts of the case to the law. You may ask how the jury knows the law? I'm glad you asked. The judge will read and provide a copy of the law to the jury. These are called jury instructions. Perhaps the most important factor in determining the value of your personal injury case is determining the financial losses. Said another way: the more that defendant has taken away from you, the more the insurance company owes you. Proving your financial losses can be very complicated, which is one of the reasons why an experienced attorney can make a difference. Here are some of the things a jury, judge or insurance adjuster will consider in valuing your claim.
- Hospital and Medical Bills
- Medical Expenses likely to expended in the future
- Past Lost Wages
- Loss of Future Earning Capacity
- Out-of-pocket Expenses (co-insurance, deductibles, medication)
Your Non-Economic Losses
In addition to those losses that we can easily assign a dollar figure to, like a medical bill or missed paycheck, there are those losses that are much more difficult to assign a dollar figure to. What is the value of not being able to be able to lift your children or grandchildren? What is the lost value of a once in a lifetime vacation that you had planned with your spouse or parent? What is the lost value of a losing your spouse or parent before their time? The law allows the following types of compensation, depending on the type of case:
- Loss of the quality enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disfigurement or Disability
Severity of the Injury
Jurors are people. When they come into a courtroom to hear a case, they bring their individual life experiences, prejudices and biases. They cannot leave who they are in the hallway. Jurors are more likely to feel empathy and be moved to compensate a person when there is some additional element of the case that warrants compensation. Said another way – a juror will give more money if the defendant was a jerk as compared to a defendant that made an innocent mistake. Some other factors that impact the value of claim is the seriousness of the defendant's misconduct, graphic photographs of the injury, severe car crash impact, and vulnerability (kids and older folks) of the victim. Among the many ways that severity can play into case value, consider the following:
- A photo showing severe damage to the vehicles
- Drunk Driving
- Videos or photos of the injury happening or the results
- These are just some of the situations that can increase the value of a personal injury claim.
One More Thing On Case Value
While personal injury lawyers look at all of these things when determining what the possible value of a car accident or malpractice claim might be, in the end, a case has just two actual cash values: (1) what a jury or judge says the case is worth or (2) what you and an insurance company can agree the case is worth.
When working with an experienced personal injury attorney, your goal should be to stack the deck in your favor and stay away from the common pitfalls that injury victims fall into. The goal is to convince the insurance company that if they don't offer fair compensation for your injuries, you will take the case to court.