How to Determine the Value of a Personal Injury Claim
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Apr 25, 2017 in Personal Injury
Personal injury lawsuits attempt to place a monetary value on the damages an individual has suffered because of another’s actions.
Although nothing can heal your injuries, lawsuits attempt to return you as close as possible to the position you were in before the incident that caused your injuries.
Because of this, a common question many have when considering filing a personal injury lawsuit is how much a case is worth. Unfortunately, because every case is different, there is no one answer that fits all. Only an experienced personal injury lawyer can tell you what your personal injury case is worth.
Factors that Determine How Much Your Case Is Worth
However, there are several factors that contribute to how much a case is worth. These include:
- How the accident happened
- The severity of your injuries
- The severity of the accident
- The medical care you have received and will require in the future
- If you were partially liable for your injuries
- If you suffer from a preexisting injury
- How your injuries have affected your life and ability to work
Economic damages take into account the monetary losses you have experienced because of your injuries. This can include:
In most personal injury cases, it will be possible to recover medical expenses associated with your injuries. This can include both the medical care you received in the past as well as an estimate of the medical care you will require in the future.
Some common examples of medical costs that can be reimbursed include:
- Doctors’ visits and hospital stays
- Prescription medication
- Assistive medical devices like crutches and wheelchairs
- Medical and surgical procedures
- Medical tests, such as x-rays, MRIs and blood tests
- In-home or long-term care
- Physical, occupational or psychological therapy
You should keep copies of your medical records and all bills and expenses associated with your care. This will be vital for building a strong case and making sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
If your injuries prevented you from working for any period of time, you may be able to obtain compensation for the wages you lost during that time. Keep records of the days you missed work and obtain a letter from your employer detailing your hourly compensation before your injuries and the number of days you missed.
Similarly, if you are unable to return to your previous position or obtain any other type of work, you may be able to recover compensation for lost earning capacity. This will require calculations about the earnings you would have received if you had not been injured.
Often, an accident will result in damages to your property as well. This can include damage to a vehicle, cellphone, laptop or other personal property.
You should document and take photos of any damage to your property resulting from your accident. Keep records of any purchases you make to repair or replace damaged items.
Noneconomic damages take into account the effects your injuries have had on your life outside of the monetary expenses you have experienced. This can include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life, including the hobbies and activities you enjoyed before
The more severe any of these damages are, the more compensation you are likely to be awarded.
Because noneconomic damages are difficult for others to observe and track, you should keep a journal detailing the ways your injuries affect your personal life and the pain and suffering you experience.
Factors that Could Reduce the Value of Your Case
It is important to note that there are certain circumstances that could reduce or limit the value of your claim.
In Maryland, noneconomic damages are capped, which means compensation cannot exceed an amount set forth by the law. The cap is increased every year on Oct. 1 to adjust for inflation.
For accidents that occurred on or after October 2016, noneconomic damages cannot exceed $830,000 in a personal injury lawsuit.
Additionally, Maryland is one of five states that uses the legal theory of contributory negligence when determining if an injury victim can file a personal injury lawsuit.
According to this rule, an individual cannot file a claim for compensation if he or she was partially at fault for causing his or her injuries. Even if the victim was only one percent liable for the accident, he or she will be barred from recovering any compensation.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side is vital to helping ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have decades of experience building strong cases on behalf of our clients and helping them fight for the compensation they need.
Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more about how much your case is worth. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, we will not charge you anything unless we recover compensation for you.