What is My Personal Injury Case Worth

This is probably one of the most important questions asked by all plaintiffs, yet one of the most difficult to answer. Your personal injury attorney can probably give you a ballpark figure, but at the early stages it is just an educated guess. As more information becomes available in terms of depositions, medical records, reviews of accident information, and even expert testimony, your attorney will have more information upon which to base his opinion.

There are a lot of factors which will go into determining how much your case is worth. Some of these factors include:

  • Is the plaintiff believable, presentable and likeable?
  • Did the plaintiff have a pre-existing injury?
  • Did the plaintiff have a subsequent injury?
  • What are the chances for a full recovery?
  • How severe are the plaintiff's injuries?
  • Did the plaintiff suffer permanent injuries?
  • Does the plaintiff have any permanent scars or disfigurement?
  • Is plaintiff employed?
  • How much in wages has the plaintiff lost?
  • Will plaintiff lose wages in the future?
  • What are the policy limits of the negligent party's insurance?
  • Does the negligent party have other assets?
  • How much are plaintiff's medical bills?
  • How much will plaintiff's future related medical care cost?
  • How difficult is it to prove defendant's negligence?
  • What is the cost of experts required to bring the case to trial?
  • Are there any long gaps in plaintiff's medical treatment?
  • How "bad" was the negligence of the defendant?
  • Are there any statutory caps to recovery?
  • Can punitive damages be recovered?
  • Can attorney fees or court costs be recovered?

There are many other factors which will go into determining the value of each individual case. This is just a list of some factors common to most personal injury cases, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, premises liability claims, dog bites, defective products and nursing home negligence/elder abuse.

One thing that your personal injury attorney can do is evaluate these factors to argue all the positives of your case. The insurance company's claims adjuster, and later their attorneys, will evaluate these factors too, but mostly to cut the value of your claim and convince you that you are not being reasonable. Without an experienced attorney on your side, you will rarely be offered the true value of your claim by the insurance company's claims adjuster.

As an analogy, we have pretty much all been to school where the bully has shoved you or a friend to the ground and looks down and says, "What are you going to do about it?" If you do not have an answer, then you pretty much have to take it. The same thing is happening in negotiating with the claims adjuster. They offer you a low settlement (or even unfairly deny any offer of settlement) and basically ask what you are going to do about it. If there is nothing, then essentially they are in charge and you will have to accept whatever they offer.

Or, you can hire a personal injury attorney and he can file a claim and take the insurance company to court, if necessary. Who do you think the insurance company will deal more fairly with? In most cases, injured people with attorneys get more than they would if they did not have the attorney, even after deducting the attorney's fees and costs.