As you might expect, not all personal injury cases are created equal. Some are worth far more than others. Naturally, you will want to know the approximate value of your case before you decide to sue the person or entity responsible for your accident and your injuries. Any personal injury attorney you contact will want to know if your case is worth the time, effort, and work he or she will need to put into it. Consequently, determining the estimated value of your case likely will be a big part of the initial consultation that most personal injury attorneys offer.
You and the attorney will consider many factors when attempting to derive a realistic idea of the potential value of your case. Some of the questions to be answered include the following:
- What type of injury did you sustain?
- What part(s) of your body were and are affected?
- How serious is your injury?
- Did it leave you partially or totally disabled?
- How much medical treatment have you already received?
- How much medical treatment can you reasonably expect to need in the future?
- Do you require physical or occupational rehabilitation therapies and services?
- Did your injuries cause your inability to perform the daily functions you did prior to sustaining them?
- Do you require ongoing in-home care?
- How much income have you already lost while off work?
- How much income can you reasonably expect to lose in the future if you cannot go back to your current job or work at all?
The answers to these questions determine the potential worth of your economic damages, i.e., your actual losses resulting from your injuries.
You and your attorney also need to place an estimated value on your noneconomic damages. These losses are harder to value since they are subjective in nature. They include such things as the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish and distress
- Post-accident depression or PTSD
- Embarrassment over disfiguring scarring
- Necessity of having to use a wheelchair, a walker, or a prosthesis to give you mobility
- Loss of ability to fully enjoy your life
Finally, your attorney can help you determine if your case is one that calls for the award of punitive damages on top of your economic and noneconomic damages. Courts seldom award punitive damages, but you may be a candidate for receiving them if the person responsible for your injuries acted in a particularly egregious way in causing the accident that injured you.
Keep in mind that unlike economic and noneconomic damages that compensate you for your losses, punitive damages punish the defendant. Consequently, you will need to show that the defendant’s actions amounted to deliberate wrongdoing, malice, or reckless disregard of your life and safety in order to receive punitive damages. Again, a good lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Cohen & Cohen Attorneys, can help you prove such egregious behavior if it applies in your case.