Personal injury cases in California are traumatic experiences. Whether you have suffered injury as a result of a car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall or medical malpractice, if someone was negligent, you deserve compensation for your injuries both economic and none economic. But how do you figure out how much your case is worth? Is it a $100,000 case or a $1,000,000 case?
In truth, there are many factors that go into determining the value of a personal injury case. While many insurance adjusters like to use a formula of finding the total economic damages, multiplying by a conservative multiplying factor, then adding a few non-economic damages, often times this formula fails to factor in the whole long term impact of the injuries you suffered. Negotiating a settlement with an insurer by yourself is the surest way to get nickel-and-dimed even when you deserve more, way more. Consult a California personal injury attorney even before talking to an insurer.
Valuing your Personal Injury Case
There are many factors that go into determining the value of a personal injury case. The first factor is damages for injuries suffered.
Here’s a quick rundown of the damages that form part of your compensation:
- Economic damages
These are for monetary injuries you suffered. They include:
- Medical expenses such as physician consultation fees, medical tests, surgery, prescription medication, physical therapy, wheelchair expenses, follow-up consultations and other out-of-pocket hospital expenses.
- Wage loss. This includes expenses such as lost income for the wages you lost during the time you were hospitalized or recovering from your injuries.
- Lost earning capacity in case the injury resulted in a permanent disability or debilitative injury that makes it impossible for you to resume the work you performed.
- Non-economic damages
- Loss of enjoyment if the injury precludes you from enjoying the simple pleasures of life you used to enjoy such as gardening, strolling in the park, dancing and many others.
- Loss of consortium in case the injury affected your relationship with your spouse.
- Pain and suffering for the emotional distress the injury has caused.
- Punitive damages
These are damages awarded to the plaintiff so as to punish the defendant at fault.
Other Unique Factors – What Opposing Parties and Insurers Won’t Take into Account
There are plenty of other factors that play a role in determining the value of a case or the likelihood of getting a high personal injury award. While some are direct, others are not and are only realizable with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. They include:
- Believability and likability of the plaintiff especially by the jury
- Some judges have a history of favorable judgments for plaintiffs against defendants.
- Pre-existing conditions the plaintiff had
- Long term effects of injuries suffered by plaintiff
- How long the plaintiff took to file suit
- Policy limits on the negligent party’s insurance
- Difficulty of proving the defendant’s negligence
- The extent of the defendant’s negligence. How bad was it?
- Comparative negligence on the part of the plaintiff
- Statutory caps on damages recoverable.
All of these, if in your favor, could significantly increase the value of your case. It takes an experienced California personal injury attorney to look at the good and bad facts and come up with a good starting figure for compensation. Contact the California personal injury attorneys at J&Y Law today for a free consultation.