Personal injury victims often wonder what their case is worth. With all of the time and effort that a personal injury case involves, it’s natural to wonder what you stand to gain. Trying to place a value on your case can give you a realistic idea of what to expect and hope for as your case moves forward.
Of course, no two cases are alike. However, you still want to get some kind of general idea of what your case might be worth. There are a few different moving parts that can impact the value of your case. An personal injury attorney can give you advice that’s specific to your case, but there are a few different things that weigh on the value of your claim.
Determining a value
The first step to determine the value of your case is to look at your medical expenses. This can include current medical bills and anticipated treatment in the future. You might work with a medical expert to create a report of what treatment you may need in the future and what it’s likely to cost.
After looking at medical bills, you need to consider your lost earning capacity. If you break your leg, and you can’t work at your construction job for three months, you can request lost wages to compensate you. If your inability to work is likely to continue long term, you may need to work with a vocational expert who can testify to your limitations.
In addition to these economic damages, you likely have non-economic damages. Even though you can’t visibly see these losses, they’re very much real losses that you sustain because of a personal injury. An example might be pain and suffering. Physical pain usually accompanies physical injury, and you also likely have emotional anguish.
In some cases, an injury may cause you to lose the companionship of a spouse. This is a loss that you can receive compensation for under New York law. Your personal injury lawyers can help you evaluate all of the possible damages and calculate their value.
The actions of the other party
Most personal injury cases are based on negligence. However, some cases are based on willful or wanton conduct or even intentional conduct. When a person acts in a way that’s malicious, you may have the option to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages aren’t meant to compensate you for any particular loss. Rather, they’re meant to punish a person or corporation for their bad acts.
An example of this might be when a company sells a product that they know is dangerous. It may also exist when a person acts intentionally to cause you injuries. In addition to punishing the bad actor, punitive damages are meant to deter others from acting in a way that’s almost certain to cause injury to others.
Working with an attorney
An personal injury lawyer likely has experience calculating damages. They know all of the types of damages that might be on the table in your case. They also know what questions to ask you in order to uncover categories of damages that may assist you with putting your life back together. An attorney can help you calculate current and future damages. They can also help you reduce the figure to a sum in today’s dollars even if some of your expenses are in the future.
The purpose of damages is to make you whole again. That is, the law tries to put you in the same position that you likely would have been in if you hadn’t suffered an injury. Of course, money alone can’t make you whole, but it’s the best the legal system can do. An attorney can speak with you to examine the complexity of your case and give you an idea of its exact value.