Calculating your personal injury settlement amount…
One of the first questions I am asked by my clients is “what is my case worth?” Although it is a valid question to ask, it’s not one that allows for a straightforward answer.
The short answer? Every case is unique. It is impossible to tell someone how much they should expect to recover without a full case analysis.
There is no way I could, or should, attempt to answer this question without all of the accident information. Have you been treated? How much are your medical bills? Have experienced a loss in wages? There are so many factors at play here, too many factors to give you a number and send you on your way.
An accurate evaluation of what your case is worth requires an in-depth evaluation of a lot of information. That said, given my extensive experience in personal injury law, I can perform an accurate valuation of a case pretty quickly. All we’ll need is the following information:
- When did the accident occur?
- Was the accident your fault, and did you receive any citations?
- Where did the accident occur?
- What injuries were sustained?
- Are any of your injuries pre-existing?
- Have you received medical care? If so, how often?
- What are your current and projected medical bills?
- Have you experienced a decrease in income due to the injury?
- Can you continue to work?
- What restrictions on your everyday activities have you experienced?
- How has your life changed?
- Have your spouse/children suffered?
Even with that information, there are a few other categories I’d need to thoroughly evaluate prior to providing a value.
A common misconception about case value
Before we begin, I’ll need to disprove one common myth regarding the valuation process of accident cases. I often hear my clients say that they have heard their case is worth three times the hard economic damages (medical bills and lost wages.)
[*Sigh*] There is no such thing as a magical formula that allows you to instantly determine the value of a case, so this theory is simply not true. The value of your case is based on a very specific evaluation; an evaluation of the categories I am about to address:
My main basis for evaluation:
Medical bills: Both past and present. This includes medical bills incurred up to the time case settles (past medical bills) and the cost of those reasonably projected after settlement (and for the remainder of the injured’s life) – (future medical bills).
Lost Wages: Both past and present. This includes lost wages incurred up to the time of settlement (past lost wages) and the anticipated loss in wages (future lost wages). Future lost wages can be figured by anticipated surgeries and ongoing treatment for the duration of the injury.
Pain and suffering: incurred through the settlement date (past pain and suffering) and pain and suffering that the injured party is expected to continue after the settlement, for the duration of his or her life -(future pain and suffering).
Loss of Consortium: This is applicable for the injured parties spouse (presuming they are married), the spouse is entitled to loss of consortium incurred through the settlement date, and through the duration of the injured’s life – (Past and future loss of consortium.)
Figuring the value of your accident claim:
The factors outlined above are largely calculated by the severity of injury sustained. The severity of injury is gathered by medical diagnosis, treatment received and the current and projected cost of medical care.
Let’s talk about your medical bills…
In determining the value of a personal injury case, I first look at the amount for medical bills to date. Then I conduct a calculation for future medical bills expected for the duration of the injured parties life. Again, there is no short and simple formula that can be used for this calculation. Based on my professional experience, I have developed a great understanding regarding what type of medical care is required for various injuries.
Based on this information and review of medical records, I will then go directly to your medical care professional for further information regarding projected treatment and costs. This part is absolutely imperative. Unlike workers compensation, accident cases do not provide financial coverage for the duration of your life. If you require future medical care, it is going to be paid out at the time of settlement.
Have you experienced lost wages due to injury?
Unlike medical care, it is fairly easy to determine what an individual has lost in terms of salary after being hurt. If he or she misses a few weeks of work unpaid, those weeks need to be recovered in the settlement.
However, you must also consider future lost wages. For instance, you may be back to work after a few weeks off and earning the same salary; however, if your job requires heavy lifting or other forms of physical activity that you can no longer perform, there is a very real risk of loss of future earnings.
Another example of this would be the situation where you are projected to receive ongoing treatment. This future treatment may cause additional days of lost wages. For this reason, it is imperative that you solicit the help of a skilled legal practitioner.
Emotional and physical pain and suffering, loss of consortium, oh my!
Pain and suffering is an evaluation of whether your injuries have negatively affected your life. Loss of consortium is an evaluation of whether your injuries have negatively affected your loved ones’ lives. Yep, you can (and should) receive compensation for both.
Emotional and physical suffering.
This includes things such as the inability to do the activities of daily life, things that you enjoy doing, such as hiking, bicycle riding, working out, cooking, and taking care of children.
If your injuries caused a surgery where you now have a steel plate in your back, it is obvious you have suffered. If you have a soft tissue issue, meaning there are no broken bones or visible injuries, it is much harder to get value. You should be sure to keep a journal of all injuries sustained from the time the accident occurs.
Loss of consortium.
The final element of damages to consider is the loss of consortium, as the law recognizes that not just the injured person suffers as a result of injury; their loved ones hurt as well.
For instance, a husband has surgery and his wife now has to leave work and tend to all of his personal needs, such as dressing, personal hygiene, cooking and other things that he would otherwise do himself. It is a complex element that requires an experienced legal practitioner to adequately calculate a value.
Bottom line, if you’re still wondering, “What is my personal injury case worth?” … you are better off by calling a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer… like me.
As you can see, determining what a case is worth is not simple. As an experienced personal injury attorney, I’ve learned how to quickly and efficiently calculate an estimated valuation of any given claim. An exact valuation; however, will take a bit more time.
If you’ve been injured in a Las Vegas accident, give me a call today. I’ll walk you through the process and provide you with as much information as possible. You can reach me directly at (702) 800-0988.
Until then, consider the tools mentioned above; do your due diligence in finding the best legal care possible. The surest way of successfully recovering injury compensation is by hiring the best Las Vegas law firm: The Injury Firm.