How Much is my Personal Injury Case Worth?
In Las Vegas, a variety of factors determine personal injury settlement valuation. Your personal injury case value depends on the damages. These damages stem from the effect on the victim of the negligence of the at fault party. The victim will have medical expenses, and will have suffered physical and sometimes emotional pain as well. If the at fault party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and in some other cases, the defendant’s conduct may entitle the victim to exemplary as well as compensatory damages.
Personal injury cases are “compensatory,” being intended to compensate an injured plaintiff for losses incurred by the accident. A compensatory damage award is financial compensation intended to compensate for the effects on the victim of the at fault party’s conduct.
Because this monetary amount is determined upon the case’s many factors, it almost always requires putting a dollar figure on things that are not equated to monetary amounts in everyday life. While some compensatory damages can be easily quantified, like medical bills or overall property damage, others are difficult to determine based upon pain, suffering and lost quality of life. That said, physical limitations created from accident-related injuries, when examined closely, may be adequately used to determine overall damage amounts. In most personal injury cases, the following damages are typically used to determine overall case value:
Medical treatment: Medical treatment and medical records are generally the primary way to determine case valuation. The cost of the treatment is taken into consideration, as well as the duration of treatment and types of treatment received. Personal injury damage awards almost always include associated medical care costs, according to experts at Nolo.com. An insurance company may attempt to disallow costs by claiming that the need for medical attention was not caused by the accident.
Pain and suffering: A plaintiff who underwent medical treatment because of an accident will make a claim and be compensated for pain and suffering. All aspects of the medical treatment, including the diagnosis, types of treatment received and costs of treatment are considered when attempting to determine fair compensation for pain and suffering. There is no definitive formula to calculate pain and suffering.
Property loss: In cases where a person is in a vehicle that sustained a great deal of damage, an insurance company is more inclined to pay fairly for the resulting personal injuries. But the concept that the amount of the damage to the vehicle is related to the degree of injury as intuitive as it might appear, often does not hold up under scrutiny.
Income loss: A plaintiff may be entitled to compensation based upon the accident’s negative impact on earned wages or salary. This extends to income lost in the future, too, due to accident-related injuries. Considered as a “loss of earning capacity,” income loss considers many variables.
Loss of life enjoyment: While difficult to determine, loss of enjoyment can be quantified by the individual’s inability to perform day-to-day pursuits such as exercise, hobbies and recreational activities.
Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium damages, in personal injury cases, are considered to directly impact the plaintiff’s spousal relationship. A loss of companionship, inability to maintain a sexual relationship or other damages to a relationship can be compensated. Sometimes, loss of consortium damages can be awarded directly to an affected family member.
Determining Overall Settlement Amounts
Often, negotiating a personal injury claim settlement requires intensive calculation. Resources like this settlement calculator, however, can help. While not to be used as an overall determining factor of settlement, the calculator can estimate potential settlement amounts.
Calculating fair compensation is not always easy, and there are often sharp disagreements between a plaintiff’s attorney and an insurance company. Insurance companies may rely upon formulas to arrive at claim value and make an offer. But formulas are not the way to value a claim. Even when compensatory damages are agreed upon, other aspects of the claim play a big part in the claim’s overall value. Car accident cases, dog bite claims, and other bodily injury claims each require fact based review, and no two cases are the same.
For example in this case, shuttle van driver’s 14 violations, the driver was charged with being intoxicated and that itself would establish civil liability if the driver is convicted.
In addition, if the at fault driver was intoxicated there is a basis for the injured party to make a claim for punitive damages.
In many cases the police have investigated the accident and the at fault party was cited for a misdemeanor such as “Fail to Yield Right of Way“, “Due Care“, or “Failure to Decrease Speed“. The fact of the police investigation and that the driver was cited will usually result in that driver’s insurance company accepting liability. Valuation of a case will be maximum where it appears that the at fault driver cannot effectively cast doubt on their responsibility for what happened.
Prior instances of bad driving by the at fault driver, for example a prior traffic tickets, generally would not be admissible in a trial regarding a subsequent accident.
In most cases, a plaintiff’s initial demand amount will substantially exceed the insurance company’s offer. As the injured party, it’s your intention and plan to receive full compensation. The insurance company adjuster may do his or her best to frustrate your attempt to be fairly compensated, and when this is the case, litigation of your case may be required.
Personal injury claims take variable amounts of time to close, and settlement amounts vary greatly depending upon the facts of the case. It’s important to consider all the facts of a case.
Fairly determining overall damages isn’t easy. It requires placing a dollar value on elements of damages that can’t easily be quantified, including pain and suffering, lost quality of life and emotional distress. It is possible to quantify such items of damages but it takes an experienced personal injury attorney to present your claim so as to get you the full measure of damages you are entitled to.
Contact us today, examine your options and consider the damages you have sustained and need to be compensated for. Your case is important, and your health, well-being and future—even more so.