What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
There are many factors that contribute to the final valuation of a personal injury case. I will attempt to outline two separate value guidelines for personal injury cases along with the factors that affect the value of your personal injury case.
- Settlement Value is the value that an insurance company may be willing to settle with a plaintiff prior to a trial verdict being rendered. The reason the defendant is willing to settle is because of the fear they may pay far more if a jury deciders the award. Insurance Companies are in the business of making their money work for them. If they have to sell an investment to pay a settlement earlier than a trial date then they will expect some sort of discount for paying early.
- Verdict or Judgment Value is the value your personal injury case is likely to be worth if your personal injury case is tried in front of a jury. Your Personal Injury case is most likely worth more money if it is tried in front of a jury and a verdict is rendered. This route will take longer to receive the money and will cost more money to obtain the settlement.
Factors That Affect The Value of Your Personal Injury Case
- Liability. Who is the tortfeaser in your case? The tort feaser is the person or entity that is negligent and caused your injury. In an auto accident this would be the person that caused the accident. In a construction accident, it may be the company that did not provide a safe work environment. In most personal injury cases the liability is apportioned to one or more parties in the lawsuit.In a rear end auto accident the liability may be 100% apportioned to the at fault drive. In a slip and fall case, the liability might be 80% on the restaurant owner for not cleaning up the floor and 20% to the injured party for being carless and not looking at the conditions.
If some liability is apportioned to the Plaintiff then it will reduce the settlement value or judgment value of the case by the same percentage of fault that is attributed to the plaintiff. Liability is the largest factor regarding what your personal injury case may be worth.
- Damages: Damages consist of economic and non economic items. Economic damages included medical bills that are causally related to the accident. Lost wages or loss of income since the accident would also be economic damages. Non economic damages consist of pain & suffering, loss of consortium and and other personal injury damage without a direct dollar value attributed to the damage.Damages are the second most important component in the valuation of your personal injury case. Your personal injury case is only worth as much as the value of your damages, assuming the liability is 100% on the defendant.
- Venue: The state and county where your personal injury case is domiciled can have a substantial influence on both the settlement value and verdict value of your personal injury claim. Certain counties have jury pools that are substantially more liberal than others. Insurance companies rank counties and offer higher settlement amounts in those jurisdictions where the potential jury verdicts are likely to be high.In other words, the settlement valuation of your personal injury case is part and parcel to the jury verdict value that and insurance company predicts. Changing the venue of your personal injury case can and may have a significant impact on the ultimate settlement amount your receive so consult your lawyer for advice.
- Causation: Are the injuries or damages that you have suffered a direct result of the accident caused by the defendant in the case? If so, the damages are causally related to the damages you had suffered and the worth of your personal injury claim will be higher.
The stronger the correlation of liability to damages the higher the settlement valuation for your case.Documenting how the damages are a direct result of the accident is a very important component related to the ultimate valuation of your personal injury case. Proving your causation is important so document your damages as best your can.
- Prior Injuries: Prior injuries that are similar in scope to the injuries you incurred during the accident can lower the value of your case. Prior injuries are a fact of life and should be fully disclosed at the outset as to provide evidence that the injury was exacerbated or that the injury is brand new. This also relates to damages in the valuation process.IF you claim lost wages for work that you were not going to be doing then the defendant may claim those damages are not related to or caused by the accident.
- Contributing Factors: Certain factors that the plaintiff is responsible may have contributed to the liability or damages of the personal injury case. For instance, if a plaintiff was not wearing his seatbelt during an car accident then the defendant may claim that the plaintiff contributed to his owns injury because he/she was not belted, even thought the defendant was 100% at fault for the accident.In a slip and fall case, a persons weight may contribute to the injury or if a person with poor eyesight was not wearing glasses at the time of the accident then some portion of liability may be attributed to the Plaintiff because of these facts.
- Insurance Coverage: The amount of insurance coverage on the defendant is an important factor in the ultimate settlement value of your personal injury case. In many states the minimum insurance required for bodily injury to another party is only $15,000.If the defendant in an automobile accident only has $15,000 worth of bodily injury insurance coverage then the maximum you are likely to recover is $15,000 unless you file a bad faith insurance claim or go after the defendants personal assets (both difficult recovery methods).
Your personal injury claim is often worth only what the insurance coverage of the defendant is or potentially less depending on your damages. Underinsured motorist coverage and home owners insurance policy’s often cover people for the negligence of others that cause damage.
Your personal injury attorney will help you with the legal process but, as a plaintiff, the valuation of your personal injury case is based on proving your damages. This includes economic and non economic damages that you sustain. Make sure to document all of your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
You shouldn’t rely on your attorney to gather this information for you. Funding is available for plaintiffs that need financial assistance while their cases are pending. Before you or a family member decides to settle your case early and for a lower amount than you think your case is worth, call a reputable pre settlement funding company to get a settlement cash advance and to find out what your lawsuit is worth. Follow the advice listed above the help build the settlement and or verdict value of your personal injury case.
The data used to compile this blog was mined from more than 85,000 pre settlement cases funded by Global Financial Credit, LLC. If you are waiting longer than expected for your lawsuit to settle you can apply for a cash advance on your settlement with Global Financial Credit, LLC.