What is my personal injury case worth?
This is perhaps the most common question I get from my personal injury clients. This is understandable; I, too, would like to know how much money I might get from a settlement. The reality, though, is that there is no quick and easy answer to this question. There are many factors that impact the value of your case, each requiring careful evaluation.
In most personal injury cases, you cannot determine the settlement value right away. This is because injuries often take time to heal and, in some instances, there are health complications that require unexpected, additional treatment. So if you settle too soon, you may not be able to recover for unexpected medical treatment.
First: Was the other party clearly at fault for the accident?
In my opinion, this is the best place to start to determine the value of your personal injury case. Generally, when the other party is clearly at fault for causing the accident, the insurance company will be more willing to engage in early settlement discussions and request information to determine the settlement value of your case.
If liability is questionable or uncertain, the insurance company may not want to engage in early settlement discussions and instead force you to file a lawsuit to establish your liability case. So before you can even discuss settlement, you have to first establish your liability case.
Second: What are your injuries?
This factor is very important in determining the value of your personal injury case. If you have been seriously injured, it is more likely that you have incurred large medical bills. The larger your medical bills, generally the more your personal injury case is worth.
Additionally, if you have had surgery or need surgery, the value of your personal injury case may increase. Importantly, though, you should not undergo surgery (or any medical procedure for that matter) to increase the settlement value of your case.
Third: Will you need future medical care?
In some cases, medical care and treatment do not end shortly after the accident. In some cases, it can extend for many months or years after the accident.
Consequently, you must consider the necessity of future medical care and treatment. Will you need future surgeries, physical therapy, or other medical care for an extended time? Will you need any assistive devices or at-home health services? If so, how much will this cost? If you need future medical care and treatment, then the value of your personal injury case generally increases.
Fourth: Has your work been affected by the accident?
After an accident, you may miss work for days, weeks, months, or even longer. The time you miss from work is called your “lost wages,” and is part of your damages in your personal injury case.
Additionally, if your injuries have affected your ability to perform your job in such a way that you can no longer perform your duties, you can recover damages for your “lost earning capacity,” or your loss of ability to earn money in the future. A simple example would be a pianist who has permanently injured her hands, and so no longer can play piano and perform in concerts.
Fifth: Did the accident affect you emotionally?
This can be the hardest question to answer. Did the accident cause you pain and suffering, anxiety, stress, and/or mental anguish?
Under Florida law, there is no precise measure for determining these damages. Florida’s pattern jury instructions state that the amount of damages awarded “should be fair and just in the light of the evidence.”
In my experience, no client is the same. Some people will recover quickly, while others tend to take more time to recover their mental health and well-being. It simply depends on the person.
Sixth: Does the at-fault party have enough insurance or even insurance at all?
In my years of practice, I have unfortunately seen many accidents where the at-fault party does not have insurance (most of the accidents were car accident cases). Naturally, if the negligent party does not have insurance, it will severely limit your chance to obtain a fair settlement.
But in cases where there is insurance, the negligent party may have a small insurance policy. In many accident cases, the at-fault party’s insurance may not even be sufficient to cover your medical bills. For example, I have represented many personal injury clients who have been involved in car accidents and sustained serious injuries. Unfortunately, the at-fault driver only had $10,000 in bodily injury limits, the lowest bodily injury insurance limits you can carry in Florida. Clearly, the $10,000 was not enough to compensate my clients.
If you have sustained serious injuries, hopefully, there will be sufficient insurance coverage.
Call Barthelette Law, Your Boca Raton Personal Injury Attorney
If you were involved in an accident and are asking yourself, “what is my personal injury case worth?”, don’t hesitate to call today.
Regardless of the value of your case, it is my mission to fight for you to obtain the best result possible. Call today for your free case consultation (561) 246-4137, email ([email protected]), or contact us here:https://barthelettelaw.com/contact-us/.