Determining the value of a personal injury case involves a lot of math, coordination of professionals, and a series of medical exams. This task is not easily taken on by private citizens as no case is the same. Even though you may know someone that has suffered a similar fate as you, this is not an indicator of what your case is worth. Several factors must be taken into account in order to place a value on your claim.
1. The Severity of Your Injuries
For the most part, those who suffer higher degrees of injury will generally be awarded higher payouts for their personal injury claim. To begin with, the type of medical care you received as a result of your injuries and the cost of that care will be examined.
However, not all effects of an injury are treated medically and these subjective impacts are also considered in placing value on your claim. In order to account for these other physical and emotional damages, insurance companies will employ a “pain and suffering multiplier” formula that will add anywhere from 1.5 to 5 percent of your medical costs to find the value of your claim.
2. The Impact On Your Daily Activities
Physical injuries and emotional distress will quite often impact the daily routines and activities of victims. These disruptions to your daily life can last a short time, many years, or even the rest of your life.
A severe injury will likely cause you to seek medical treatment for many years to come, not to mention extra trips to the pharmacy for medications and long recovery periods. A permanent injury such as scarring, stiffness, and weakness has the potential to change the way you live your life or the work you are able to perform. In addition, be sure to inform your personal injury attorney if you have had to miss school, vocational training, a vacation, or even special events.
3. The Loss of Wages
Whether you miss a short amount of work for an emergency room visit or several months because of injury and recovery, you are entitled to compensation for the wages you would have received.
Business owners may lose income from lost jobs and employees are often unable to work as scheduled during their treatment for, and recovery from, the injuries for which they are suing. Documentation of this lost income is vital and should always include the amount of time missed, how much money you would have made. A letter from your employer is good evidence of lost wages while a drop in your business’ invoicing or canceled appointments will be used in determining a business owner’s lost income.
4. The Cost of Related Damages
Contrary to popular belief, medical costs and lost wages are not the only things that may be considered in determining the amount of your personal injury damages. Many of these costs are unavoidable, though they must also be verifiably necessary.
Plaintiffs tend to easily obtain judgments that include expenses such as property damage, especially in the case of vehicle collisions. However, you may also be entitled to reimbursement for any rental car fees, vehicle fuel, airfare, and hotels stays if the injury occurred in a city or region in which you do not reside. Many claimants also ask to be repaid for previously unneeded household help such as housekeepers or child care.
5. The Percentage of Fault
Court regulations insist that private citizens act in such a way as to protect themselves from injury. For instance, failure to heed warning signs or performing known dangerous acts will negatively affect one’s personal injury award.
Injury claims usually arise because one or more of the involved parties acted negligently. Essentially, the at-fault party is determined if his or her conduct falls below the standard of care expected by a reasonable person resulting in harm being caused to another. A breach of duty by one or more parties must exist and the defendant must be the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. However, a percentage of the fault can also be assigned to plaintiffs who failed to mitigate the chances of the harm they incurred.
Hiring a personal injury attorney is the best way to begin determining how much to seek in a lawsuit. He or she will work closely with your doctors, private investigators, and other experts to assess the severity of your injuries, monetary damages, and personal fault.