Most personal injury claims or lawsuits are resolved without the necessity of a trial of any kind. After all medical bills, records and reports are received along with lost earnings verification, a settlement demand is made by the injured party’s lawyer. Then, the opposing insurance company considers how much it will pay on the claim or lawsuit. If either of the parties to an accident involving personal injuries refuses to settle, a trial on the merits of the case is held. That’s when a jury decides guilt or innocence. If there’s a finding of guilt, the jury makes a damages award.
So What’s My Case Worth?
In a courtroom, the human body isn’t like a mannequin with price tags hanging all over different parts of it. Every accident is different, and every person who is injured in an accident is different too. When placing a value on a personal injury claim, there are a variety of factors that both sides to the the case must consider. Here are a few of them.
- The Nature and Extent of the Injuries
If the injury victim suffers a wrist or arm fracture requiring surgery, the value of that injury will be substantially higher than a fracture of his or her index finger. That should be understood by both sides of the case. The insured person’s policy limits don’t control the value of the case either.
If the injury suffered by the victim causes permanent impairment, the value of the claim increases. That’s especially true in the context of the victim’s ability to earn a living.
When scarring or other disfigurement is permanent and caused by the accident, the value of the case generally increases. The location on the claimant’s body of that scarring or disfigurement must given due consideration by both sides to the case.
- Lost Earnings
Some people make more money per hour than others, and some people make less. No two people or injuries are the same, and no two earners are the same either. If you were hospitalized, and you had to spend time at home recovering from your injuries, the value of your case is likely to increase.
- Comparative Negligence
If the affirmative defense of comparative negligence is raised, a determination must be made as to what percentage of fault for the accident is attributable to the injured victim. That percentage must then be deducted from the gross damages award. California is what’s known as a pure comparative negligence state. A person might be 51 percent at fault for an accident, but he or she might still recover damages equal to 49 percent of a gross award.
The Puzzle Needs to Be Completed
Given all of these variables, what a case is worth can’t be answered within any reasonable degree of certainty in an initial consultation and case review. That’s because all of the information in connection with the accident and injuries simply isn’t known. When all of the pieces of the puzzle are put together, a knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer should be in a position to place a value range on a case.
After being injured in an accident in or around Los Angeles, the best thing that you can do to preserve your right to fair and just compensation is to seek immediate medical treatment. After that, contact us right away. We offer free initial consultations and case evaluations on personal injury cases. We’re careful listeners, and given our experience, we’re in a great position to answer your questions too. Then, we’ll advise you of your full range of legal alternatives. Beware of any lawyer who tells you what your case is worth in an initial consultation without being aware of all of the facts. That’s a big red flag.
Allen Vaysberg practices personal injury law and works tirelessly to defeat the tactics of insurance companies and large corporations who try to deny justice and fair compensation to injured people.