If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you may be wondering, "What is my personal injury case worth?" It makes sense that an accident victim would like to know what to expect in terms of the outcome of their case, so that they can compare that to the insurance company's settlement offer. As helpful as it would be to be able to compare your case to an "average" settlement value, it would also be unrealistic.
Calculating The Settlement Value Of Personal Injury Claims
The value of any personal injury case absolutely depends on the unique facts of the case. There is no magic formula or process by which an attorney can predict with certainty the amount of money a person is entitled to receive, especially where damages are awarded for subjective elements called 'pain and suffering' and 'loss of enjoyment of life.' Any attorney who attempts to give you a specific value estimate of your case is likely doing you a disservice, as it takes a great deal of time and work to determine a realistic value for any case.
For example, our attorneys will typically get a better idea of a reasonable settlement range after your medical condition has stabilized. We rely on such factors as the extent and permanency of your injuries, the effect your injuries have had on your life, the amount and duration of your medical treatment, prior jury verdicts and/or arbitration awards received for similar injuries and my experience. Ultimately, the value of any given case is determined by the jury's verdict after a trial on the merits.
That being said, there are a few common factors to consider when attempting to determine value of an injury claim. Specifically, the types of damages that may potentially be claimed in a personal injury case can have a big effect on the outcome.
Also called "general" damages - refer to the various types of damages that have a direct cost associated with them. Some examples of economic damages include:
- Medical Expenses – Emergency medical costs (ambulance, airlift, ER), x-rays, MRIs, surgical bills, hospital bills, and other medical fees incurred as a result of an accident.
- Ongoing Medical Costs – Doctor visits, rehabilitation facility expenses, laboratory fees, physical therapy, pharmaceuticals / prescription drugs, medical devices, in-home nursing care, cognitive rehabilitation, mental health counseling, speech therapy, occupational therapy/retraining.
- Lost Income – Lost wages, lost vacation/PTO, lost opportunities, and potential future income.
Also called "special" damages - refer to the types of damages that do not have a direct cost associated with them. Some examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and Suffering – Emotional injuries, fear, insomnia, grief, etc. due to an accident.
- Lost Quality of Life – Loss of the enjoyment of life due to permanent personal injury or other factors.
- Loss of Consortium - Claim for damages suffered by the spouse or family member of a person who has been injured or killed.
Personal Injury Attorney
Ultimately, you should always consult with a qualified personal injury attorney in order to learn more about your legal rights and determine if you may qualify for compensation for your injures after an accident. While no attorney can honestly tell you the true value of your case, an experienced lawyer should be able to give you a better idea of the chances of a successful outcome and explain all of the factors that could have an impact on your case.
If you have specific questions about your case or would like to learn more about our firm's experience with personal injury cases like yours, just fill out the confidential contact form on this page or call our downtown Seattle office at (206) 727-4000 to speak with our award-winning legal team.
MORE IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Don't Be Fooled By Settlement Calculators