Nine factors to help determine the value of damages in a personal injury case
The most common question I get asked when a meet a client for the first time is “how much is my personal injury case worth?” Answering this question is not as easy as it sounds. I would be very cautious hiring a personal injury lawyer you met the first time, who gives you an estimated value answer. I honestly believe any lawyer that does is doing you a disservice. Personal injury cases vary from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, or any other kind of bodily injury. The value of your case will come down to “damages,” and calculating how your injury has affected you physically, financially, and mentally.
Nine variables to consider when calculating what your personal injury case is worth.
The most common compensation for personal injury cases are monetary, also called “compensatory damages” or “actual damages”. Compensational damages is intended to award the injured party (plaintiff) for their loss or injury, not including “punitive damages,” which awards by punishing the wrongdoer. The amount compensated is reviewed by the seven common variables below:
Lost income or future loss of wages: You may be entitled to compensation for already lost income and the projected income you could have earned in the future on your salary and wages, if the accident did not ever occur. A term for compensation of estimated future earned income to the accident victim is called “loss of earning capacity.”
Medical expenses and treatments: The reimbursement for medical expenses associated with the personal injury claim is a common factor for compensatory damages. The past and future treatments must be considered for hospital bills, medical treatment, prescription medicines, rehabilitation, and any other medical care.
Cost of living with a disability: If the injury alters the victim’s lifestyle to become a disability, the compensatory damages will assist in covering the costs associated. In addition, the injured victim can be compensated for the loss of future wages due to the disability.
Property loss and repair: The victim can recover costs of property damage from the accident. Compensation value of lost property such as vehicles, personal items, clothing, and any item damaged from the accident will be reimburse at the fair market value of the property.
Pain and suffering: Not only can you be compensated for the pain you suffered, but also the mental emotional distress as the result of the personal injury accident. However, he/she must obviously prove the suffering and pain was the result from the injury.
Emotional distress and mental anguish: Commonly associated with severe accidents. In a personal injury lawsuit, the emotional distress damages can be a factor. The mental anguish of coping with fear, sleep loss, and anxiety are some side effects of serious accidents.
Loss of enjoyment: The inability to enjoy the common day-to-day lifestyle could be considered damages for “loss of enjoyment.” The accident may have limited the ability to continue enjoying exercise, hobbies, or other activities. The reasonable reward amount will be determined with substantial evidence to prove this was caused from the accident.
Loss of consortium: In most situations of personal injury, only the victim is considered. However, spouses or family members can receive compensation damages as well. The injury negatively impacts marriage relationship, for example the physical and emotional aspects of affection, companionship, comfort and sexual relations. Children of the injured can request damages for the loss of consortium as well.
Funeral expenses: Relatives of a personal injury victim can recover any expenses associated with funeral costs.
Every personal injury case I have encountered is unique to each person. Many other factors could play a role on the total amount rewarded for compensatory damages for your personal injury case. Before considering any answer to “How much is my personal injury case worth,” make sure the lawyer has all the information and facts. Therefore, providing you with the right expectations about your personal injury case.
If you have any additional legal questions about your personal injury case, call me at 508-674-0890 or email me direct at [email protected]. I’ll answer your questions and will provide a free case evaluation if you would like.
For over 35 years the law office of Sabra and Aspden have won over $100 million in verdicts and settlements for personal injury and workers compensation cases. We work vigorously to achieve the maximum recovery for our clients.