Injured clients frequently ask the question, “How much is my case worth?” In fact, this is possibly one of the most common questions asked by injury victims, year after year. As Kansas City personal injury lawyers, our team at the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm wants you to understand exactly what goes into determining the value of a case. We feel this will help you better understand all aspects of the case from start to finish.
Your Economic Losses
Ultimately, if your case goes to trial, a judge will instruct the jury on what it can consider in determining your award. Perhaps the most important factor in determining the financial value of a case is determining what the financial losses actually are. Think of it this way: the more that is taken from you, the more the defendant owes you. Of course, proving losses can be very complicated, which is one of the reasons why an experienced legal team can make a difference. But here are some of the things that are used to prove your financial losses:
- Medical Bills
- Future Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Lost Earning Potential (Future Wages)
- Out-of-pocket Expenses
- Family Medical Expenses
- Funeral or Burial Expenses
Your Non-Economic Losses
In addition to those losses that we can easily assign a dollar figure to, like a medical bill or missed paycheck, there are those losses that are much more challenging to assess. What is the value of not being able to go bowling with your league for a year? What is the lost value of a missed 20-year anniversary to Hawaii that had to be put off because of a car wreck? What is the lost value of a beloved family member dying before her time? The law allows the following types of compensation, depending on the type of case:
- Loss of Society and Companionship
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Disfigurement or Disability
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
Severity or Extremity of the Injury
Jurors are people, just like the rest of us. They are more likely to feel empathy and be moved to compensate a person when there is some additional element of the case that warrants compensation. These are the intangible factors, such as serious misconduct, graphic photographs of the injury, severe car crash impact, vulnerability of the victim, and so forth. Among the many ways that severity can play into case value, consider the following:
- Drunk drivers
- Distracted drivers
- Serious damage photos
- Videos or photos of the injury happening or the results
- Children and senior as victims
- Likeability of the plaintiff and/or defendant
These are just some of the situations where jurors are more likely to award higher amounts, but naturally, there is no way to guarantee it.
Final Note on Case Value
While attorneys look at all of these things when considering what the possible value might be, in the end, a case has just two actual cash values: (1) what you and an insurance company can agree it is worth or (2) what a jury says it’s worth.
When working with experienced personal injury lawyers, your goal should be to stack the deck in your favor by cooperating, taking photos, working closely with your lawyer to draw out all possible types of losses that you may have suffered. The goal is to convince the insurance company that if they don’t pay a fair amount, you are willing to take the case to court. At the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm, we are serious about fighting for our clients. Call us to schedule a consultation today. We never collect unless you do.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.