What is my case worth?
There simply is no cut and dry answer to the question of what a given personal injury case is “worth.” Injuries do not come with legal price tags and there are a plethora of details that need to be ironed out in the process of determining an amount for a reasonable settlement.
Only a qualified attorney can provide you with an accurate assessment of your case and help you determine what, if anything, your case is actually worth. Your best course of action is to seek out an experienced personal injury lawyer and request an initial consultation.
Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency basis, meaning that you pay nothing unless your lawyer successfully collects money for your injury. Since the firm won’t make money if you don’t have an actionable case, most lawyers will provide you with an honest assessment of your situation and give you reasonable advice on how to proceed.
The better question isn’t what your case is worth, but rather the types of compensation your attorney could choose to pursue, based on the facts of your case. Here is a list of some of the most common avenues of compensation in personal injury cases. Your lawyer could apply one, several, or all of these things when determining a real dollar amount he or she will seek in an effort to make you whole.
#1 – Medical attention and treatment. Personal injury awards almost always include medical incurred as the result of the injury. In most cases, you would be entitled to collect compensation for the estimated cost of all medical care you will require, be it short- or long-term.
#2 – Lost income. Many plaintiffs in personal injury cases are found to be entitled to compensation if the injury impacts your salary or ability to collect wages. This applies to monies lost immediately following the accident as well as long-term disbursements to cover anticipated lost wages over the course of your professional or vocational lifetime. In legal terms, this is considered a “loss of earning capacity” and can necessitate reasonable compensation over a long period of time.
#3 – Loss of personal property. This accounts for any type of property from clothing and other personal effects to the loss of a motor vehicle, residence, etc. You would likely be entitled to compensation for repair or replacement of any item lost in the accident. Claims like these are typically outside the realm of personal injury and would require a separate lawsuit or claim to recover damages.
#4 – Pain and suffering. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort as the result of your injury, you could be entitled to compensation. Long-term or lifelong pain can net large settlements when examined by a competent attorney acting in your best interest.
#5 – Emotional distress or PTSD. Often tied to more serious injuries and accidents, damages for emotional distress or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can compensate you for the psychological repercussions of the injury or event. If it can be successfully argued that the incident has caused lingering anxiety, fear, or stress, you could collect damages in this arena as well.
#6 – Loss of enjoyment of life. If your injury will keep you from enjoying the things you enjoyed doing before (exercise, hobbies, any kind of physical activity…) you could be entitled to damages as a means of helping make you whole.
#7 – Loss of consortium. While some plaintiffs find it embarrassing to pursue this type of damage, loss of consortium (the inability to sustain a sexual relationship with a partner) is cause for compensation in certain personal injury cases. Keep in mind that most personal injury cases are settled without a trial, so the details of the case often remain discreet and behind closed doors.
These are just some of the areas a seasoned personal injury lawyer will examine when determining the worth of your case. For a thorough assessment, it is recommended that you contact a personal injury attorney and request a free initial consultation.