One of the most common questions people have when they have been injured in an accident is: “How much is my case worth?”
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to answer this question. Everybody is different. Every case is different. The same impact, or the same injury, can have a completely different effect on two different people. However, here is a breakdown of things an attorney would look at when evaluating the value of your case.
Evaluating a Personal Injury Case:
The goal of this process is to try to put the injured person in the place they would have been in had the accident never happened. In short, this means the injured person should be compensated for any money they spent, money they weren’t able to earn, time and hassle, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and any other losses that resulted from the accident. We call these things “compensatory damages.”
There are mainly two types of damages that you can be compensated for: 1) Special Damages 2) General Damages
Special Damages (aka economic damages):
These are out-of-pocket damages that can be documented. For example, medical bills and related expenses, property damage (in some instances), loss of earnings, and loss of earnings capacity are out-of-pocket. In addition, if the injuries were significant then special damages would include things like nursing care, physical rehab, and vocational rehab. Sometimes it is necessary to document future out-of-pocket damages by using an expert.
General Damages (aka non-economic damages):
An injury victim might also recover non-economic damages, or general damages. These are really for intangible losses. Things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and mental anguish. There is no set value in determining these damages. They are different for each individual. However, a good lawyer is able to effectively communicate ALL of your losses to the other side and would go a long way when it comes to these types of damages.
(On a side note, another question we get all the time is: “Is it worth it to hire an attorney for my injury case?” The number one thing we see when people fail to retain an attorney is the Defendant’s insurance company failing to sufficiently compensate them for their general damages. As a result, the injured victim will end up getting compensated only for their medical bills and out-of-pocket losses. Most of the time, they then owe the medical bills back to their health insurance company (if they used their health insurance for treatment). This leaves them with little-to-no money for themselves after everything they went through. So the answer is almost always “YES”, it is worth it.)
There is one more type of damages. Punitive damages are not awarded to compensate the victim, but instead to deter the Defendant from the type of conduct that caused the injury. Punitive damages are rarely awarded. For the most part, in order to be awarded punitive damages you would have to show that the Defendant caused the injuries intentionally or maliciously.
If you have any questions regarding your case and would like to speak to an attorney, give us a call! We offer free consultations and would be happy to discuss your situation. In the event you were to retain Flahavan Law Offices we would cover all of your legal expenses and you would only have to pay us if we won your case.