It seems just about every day a client will ask, “what’s my case worth?” It’s perhaps the most frequent question asked of personal injury lawyers, and it’s perhaps one of the most frustrating for clients. Answers are rarely black and white. Attorneys often give inconsistent or seemingly evasive responses that leave people feeling like their attorneys just don’t want to answer or lack the confidence to give a ‘straight answer.’ In truth, this is not what’s going on. So, without further ado, the attorneys of the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm want to answer the question the best way we know how.
The Short Answer — It MIGHT be worth a million dollars
A personal injury case is worth one of two values:
- What a jury says it’s worth OR
- What you and the insurance company (or defendant) agree it’s worth
This may seem a bit flippant, but it’s the truth. We’ve seen relatively minor cases that compelled jurors to award significant compensation, and there are catastrophic cases where jurors didn’t feel compelled at all. Even the best attorneys are not able to perfectly predict what 12 unknown strangers may decide. Even with focus groups and world-class training, there is always going to be some degree of chance. So, ultimately your injury is worth whatever that jury is willing to award or it’s worth whatever amount you and the insurance company can agree to.
What Determines a Personal Injury Case Value?
So, if there’s no definite way to determine case value, you may be wondering what, if anything, makes a difference. Well, in general, the more leverage you have against the defendant and his or her insurance company, the better your settlement might be. If you are representing yourself and know little about the court system or the underlying laws that govern insurance rules, the insurance company knows it has little risk of losing money. Therefore, they have little reason to pay. But if you are represented by experienced lawyers who frequently handle the same type of case, the insurance company knows there is a strong chance if they don’t pay, a jury might make them. This type of leverage is what forces insurance companies to settle.
How is a Personal Injury Case Value Calculated?
Your injuries are known as “damages” in the law. There are economic damages and non-economic damages.
An economic damage is something of monetary value that you lost due to your injury. These include:
- Lost wages
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Other out-of-pocket costs
Non-economic damages are things that are not financial losses but are instead things that are a matter of personal or emotional value. These can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of love and affection
To calculate and estimate the value of your case, your attorney will help you to weigh each damage against the evidence and the likelihood of proving that damage to a jury. The stronger your proof, the better your chances.
For More Information, Call the Personal Injury Lawyers at Krause and Kinsman Law Firm
Today’s insurance claims landscape is rough. Adjusters fight hard to avoid paying claims, and innocent victims are often blamed for their own injuries. Don’t speak with the insurance company, and don’t sign anything until you’ve talked to a lawyer about your injuries. Call today for a free consultation, and find out more about your case’s value.
Adam Krause 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. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.