One of the most common questions that injury victims have for their attorneys is what their case is worth. Of course, nobody can put a value on limbs, or health, but certainly injury victims want to anticipate what they can expect from an injury lawsuit. There are no easy answers to this question, and a number of factors will be weighed to come to a value. Many of those factors may not even be determined until months or years after your initial injury.
How Injured are You?
One factor is how you recover from your injury. As humans, we often recover at different levels even with the same injury. One person with a wrist injury may never be able to write again. Another may recover so well that he or she is back to playing sports. This makes value evaluation difficult in the early stages, as your medical improvement has not yet been determined.
What is an Injury Worth?
There is no chart that tells us how much someone with a given injury or who is in a certain type of accident receives. The value of a case is really dependent on what juries are awarding, or what defendants are settling other cases, which have about the same injuries or facts as your case has.
If 100 juries determined in the past that a broken wrist is worth, say, $15,000, then that is probably the value of the injury. Of course, your case may have extenuating circumstances that make it worth much more than that, and juries are not told what other juries have done in similar situations, so this is not to say your injury is not worth more (or less) than what it was worth in other cases. It is just a baseline.
Liability Plays a Part
Next are liability problems. If you have an injury that is worth about $100,000, but you were a pedestrian who was hit by a car when you were not at a legal crosswalk, a jury may apportion some liability to you. If you anticipate that a jury may think that you are 50% responsible for your accident, your case may only be worth $50,000.
Value also depends on whether you want to take your case to trial. Settlement value is lower, because both parties are compromising—that is, both parties are trying to avoid the potential that the jury does not see things their way. A settling defendant will not offer to you the same as your best day in court—just as you would not settle for the same as your worst day in court would be.
Other Things to Consider
Other factors also come into play. For example, attorneys who try cases in court may obtain higher settlement offers from defendants.
Whether a source like insurance or Medicaid will want to be paid back from your settlement (subrogation), or what your outstanding medical bills or costs are, may also reduce the settlement amounts that you ultimately receive. Like your medical recovery, these are things that often are not known until later on in your case.
If you are injured in an accident, make sure your attorney knows how to maximize the value of your case. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your injury or liability case.