One of the most commonly asked questions clients have for their personal injuries lawyers is how much their personal injury lawsuit is worth. You also may be wondering how much money you can expect to receive as a settlement or award from your personal injury lawsuit.
The important thing to know is that your attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Orange County trusts, will have to make a reasonable settlement offer either through negotiations with opposing counsel and/or insurance adjustors, or in front of a judge and jury if the case is to go trial. The settlement dollar amount cannot be unsubstantiated; this means that your lawyer has to prove that the settlement amount you should receive will be a fair compensation for current medical expenses, property damage and loss of income, as well as compensation for future medical expenses and loss of future earnings.
Most lawyers will tell you, “it depends” – meaning, it is very difficult to predict the value of the case without actually working up the entire case. However, you can ascertain a fair and general estimate of what your personal injury lawsuit may be worth by calculating various expenses and costs related to the incident and injury.
- Medical Expenses: A major portion of a personal injury lawsuit settlement has to do with current medical bills to date. In fact, the sum total of medical bills for treatment received for injuries sustained due to the personal injury are often the foundational components of the settlement amount. This means that if you only have about $10,000 of medical costs for treating a minor injury, you are not likely to receive a multi-million-dollar settlement.
- Estimated Future Medical Expenses: The estimated cost of future medical treatment is another foundational factor that is used by your personal injury lawyer in negotiating your settlement amount with the opposing side. The severity of your injuries is a key factor because serious injuries can require a lifetime of medical treatment, for which costs add up quickly. Someone with a broken ankle can expect to spend less on future medical care when compared to someone who has had spinal injuries, and this will be put into consideration when your personal injury lawyer is preparing your settlement demand package.
- Pain and Suffering: This is a difficult category to quantify. But typically the more severe the injury, the more you will receive in pain/suffering.
- Loss of Income: If your personal injury causes you to lose income due to lost work opportunities or the inability to work due to injuries that were sustained, your attorney may add your loss of income earnings as part of your damages in your settlement demand. Loss of income is proven through your past earnings, so this will have to be proven by production of your tax forms and pay stubs.
This is only the beginning of attempting to determine the value of your case. There are a multitude of factors that your attorney must consider when deciding how much your case is worth. Your credibility, medical treatment consistency, previous similar medical issues as those being claimed in the personal injury, and the overall subjective specifics of your case will be considered. However, you are able to get a good idea of what to expect by taking some time and reviewing pertinent costs.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Bruno Nalu for their insight into personal injury practice.