How to Calculate Value of a Personal Injury Claim
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“How much is my case worth?” This is typically the first question a client asks a lawyer after giving a rundown of the facts of their case. Unfortunately, because too many attorney advertisements promise enormous—if not unrealistic—recoveries, clients can easily miscalculate the value of their claim. To make matters more uncertain, it is virtually impossible for any personal injury attorney to adequately estimate a value at the front end of a case.
The following are just some of the variables that greatly affect how much compensation a plaintiff can recover for their injuries.
1. Liability and Injuries
The severity of the injuries and the cause of the harm are both important factors when considering value. If a jury or insurance company sees a dispute about the responsibility of each party for the injuries, they may assign what is known as comparative negligence, or the percentage of blame for which each party is accountable.
If that happens, even a large verdict may be worth only a portion of the overall damages. Moreover, if a jury places more than 50 percent responsibility on a plaintiff for causing their own injuries, the plaintiff gets nothing. Therefore, the more the defendant can be held responsible, the more valuable the case may be.
2. Insurance Coverage
Each state requires motorists to carry automobile insurance, but the minimum coverage limits vary by state. If a minimum limits policy is the only source of recovery for your accident, a multimillion dollar case is worth only the amount the insurance company is contractually obligated to pay. If the responsible party has a large insurance policy, the plaintiff may be able to recover more money.
If a plaintiff has such coverages as personal injury protection, medical payments insurance, uninsured motorist coverage, or homeowner’s insurance, they may be able to receive additional money from those sources if the defendant is unable to compensate for all damages. Remember: a verdict is just a number; there must be money to collect in order to recover full damages.
The place where a lawsuit is filed can dramatically affect the value of a case. For instance, juries in certain parts of a state may be more generous in awarding damages for pain and suffering and mental anguish.
A major benefit of this fact is that if the opposing lawyer and the other party’s insurance company see a big risk at the courthouse, they may offer more money to resolve the case before trial. However, if they believe the venue offers them a favorable outlook, they will likely be less willing to negotiate a fair settlement.
4. Actual Medical Bills and Damage
If a client experiences an awful accident but is not injured, a claim for personal injury does not exist. Conversely, if a client is in a minor accident but suffers a catastrophic injury, the claim will be worth much more.
A client’s actual medical bills and out-of-pocket costs can be submitted to a jury for reimbursement. Attorneys use this number, adjusted for insurance payments and other factors, as a general guideline to determine the value range of a case.
Get Help from Experienced Denver Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury cases are very complex, which is why it is in your best interest to have a skilled and knowledgeable Denver personal injury attorney on your side. At Zinda Law Group, our team of accident attorneys has the experience and resources necessary to fully prosecute your case, and we never settle for anything less than the best. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call us today at 800-863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Denver personal injury lawyers. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.