The value of a personal injury claim depends on multiple factors. A significant factor is the value of your economic damages, which are traceable expenses like medical bills.
Other significant factors include your long-term losses, such as past and future medical costs and loss of income from an inability to work. The Levin Firm personal injury attorneys can help you understand the value of your case.
The value of medical expenses in personal injury cases depends on the severity and duration of the injuries. This includes the cost of emergency room treatment, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor appointments, prescription medication, and physical therapy. It may also include devices like wheelchairs and braces and rehabilitative therapies like speech and occupational therapy.
In addition, you could be entitled to compensation for loss of income, including wages, tips, bonus pay, vacation days, and sick time. You might also be eligible to recover the costs of a retraining program if you can no longer work in your previous job due to your injury.
Non-economic damages are more challenging to assess and can include emotional distress, lost enjoyment of life experiences, diminished quality of life, and damage to relationships. These are difficult to quantify, so a skilled lawyer will use years of experience evaluating similar cases to help calculate their value.
Loss of wages is a significant component in calculating the value of a personal injury claim. This includes both past and future losses. To calculate lost wages, your attorney will consider the amount you earned if not for your accident and subtract any paid time off (PTO), vacation days, or sick days you missed due to the injury. Fringe benefits such as health insurance, mobile phone plans, gym memberships, and employer-provided transportation are also included in this calculation.
When calculating long-term or permanent loss of earnings, your lawyer may use either the actual loss method or the diminished earning capacity method. Both methods have pros and cons and require accurate evidence, such as pay stubs and employer statements.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is a critical component of many personal injury damages. It encompasses both physical and mental pain and distress.
Determining appropriate compensation for pain and suffering can be challenging, so having an experienced team on your side is essential. Attorneys will collaborate with medical specialists and other experts to determine the actual value of your claim. This is especially crucial because establishing a direct relationship between your injuries and long-term emotional or physical distress might be challenging.
Putting a value on quantifiable economic damages like medical expenses and missed wages is relatively straightforward. However, determining the value of non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, and missed experiences/opportunities, can be much more complex. There is no one-size-fits-all method for valuing these types of damages.
In the case of pain and suffering, attorneys often use a multiplier to determine an approximate value. This multiplier typically ranges from 1 in cases with mild injuries to 5 for severe, lifelong injuries. The attorney will also consider other factors, such as how the injury has impacted your quality of life and what you have been able to do since your accident, influencing the compensation you may receive. The attorney may also assess your property damage to include compensation for any losses incurred.
Damages for Property Damage
The severity of your injuries will also influence the value of your claim. For instance, a severe brain injury or loss of a limb will often result in more significant damage than a minor fracture.
The amount of insurance coverage the negligent party holds will also affect your settlement. A personal injury attorney can assess the defendant’s policy limits and other financial assets to offer an informed perspective on the settlement value of your case.
If the at-fault party is considered “judgment-proof,” you may have to file a lawsuit against them. Your attorney can combat unfair allegations of fault to maximize your compensation. A personal injury lawyer can also help you understand how comparative/contributory fault laws could affect your settlement. This means you can’t win any damages if it is determined that your negligence contributed to your accident and injuries.