How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
Before you make the decision to file a personal injury case after being injured at the hands of another, and certainly before you hire a personal injury attorney, you probably want to answer the question: What’s my case worth?
While doing a quick calculation to determine the value of your economic damages may be possible, truly understanding claim value, and the many factors that affect the value and outcome of a claim, requires counsel from a skilled attorney. At the office of Starpoint LC, Attorney at Law, we can help you to understand how much your personal injury case is worth. Call us today for your free consultation to get started.
Types of Damages Recoverable in a California Personal Injury Claim
First, it’s important to understand the types of damages that are available in a personal injury claim. Damages recoverable in a California personal injury claim include:
- Economic damages. Economic damages are damages that are based on actual financial losses that you have suffered as a direct result of your accident and injury. They are calculated based on actual economic value, such as the value of medical bills, property damage costs, or lost wages related to your injury. You maintain the right to recover economic damages in full.
- Noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages are much harder to calculate because, as their name implies, they are noneconomic, or non-financial, in nature. Pain, suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life are all types of noneconomic damages. They are typically calculated using the multiplier method (the value of your economic damages is multiplied by a number one through five, depending on severity of injuries) or the per diem method (you are assigned a per day value for pain and suffering, which is then multiplied by the number of days you experience noneconomic loss).
- Punitive damages. In cases where the defendant in a personal injury claim is found guilty of malice, oppression, or fraud, the plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages must be awarded--if they are awarded at all--in an amount that is proportionate to the amount of harm suffered by the plaintiff and general damages overall.
Factors that Affect the Value and Outcome of a Personal Injury Claim
While you may seek all of the damages types listed above in a personal injury claim, the value of these damages will vary greatly on a case-by-case basis. Some of the factors that may have the greatest effect on the value of your claim include:
- Fault. You must prove the fault of the defendant in order to recover compensation. If you are found to be partially at fault for your injuries/accident, your damages award can be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
- Insurance coverage. While you can file a lawsuit directly against a defendant, most claims are paid by liability insurance coverage. If no such coverage exists, however, or if the defendant does not have enough coverage to cover the value of your claim, you may be unable to recover your full compensation award, even when the award is fair.
- Severity of injuries. The severity of your injuries will have a significant effect on the value of your economic and noneconomic losses. Obviously, a person who suffers a spinal cord injury that leaves them with permanent paralysis will incur more expenses over time--and have a greater diminished quality of life--than will a person who suffers a minor bone fracture that heals completely in six weeks.
- Legal representation. Having an attorney on your side can greatly improve the outcome of your personal injury claim. This is because your attorney can investigate your case and prove fault, disprove allegations of fault made against you, identify all liable parties and sources of recovery, calculate your damages, hire experts to build your claim, and negotiate your settlement offer. Hiring an attorney is one of the best things that you can do when you have been injured.
Schedule a Free Consultation to Learn More About How Much Your Personal Injury Case Is Worth
Stop wondering, “What is my case worth?” and schedule a free consultation with a lawyer who can answer your questions after thoroughly reviewing your case. “How much is my case worth?” is an important consideration when filing a clam - at the office of Starpoint Law, our lawyers are here to help you understand what you may be able to recover. Please call us today or send us a message to schedule your free consultation and learn more.