This is a great question and one of the most common questions clients ask me. However, the answer is rarely simple and there is no magic formula to help make this determination. A good, experienced personal injury attorney will evaluate many factors before giving you an opinion on your claim’s value.
The first question to answer is who was at fault for the accident. Who caused the accident? Was it 100% the other person’s fault or do you also bear some responsibility? If you were partially at fault, this can reduce the value of your claim.
Second, what is the extent of your injuries? What kind of medical treatment did you get? Have you had surgery or will you need it in the future? Do you have permanent scars? Will you need ongoing treatment into the future? Is your injury permanent? What is your prognosis? Your attorney will have to thoroughly review your medical records to get complete answers to these questions.
Third, were your injuries caused solely by the accident or did you have some preexisting condition that was aggravated by the accident? Insurance companies will thoroughly investigate any prior injury claims you have made and try to argue that your injuries were caused by a prior accident. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to present arguments to fight the insurance company and maximize your recovery.
Fourth, how much are your medical bills to date, and how much will they be in the future? Many of my clients have serious injuries that will require significant medical treatment for years, and sometimes for the rest of their lives. Past and future medical bills can be a major factor in determining the value of your claim.
Fifth, have you had to miss any time from work as a result of your injuries? If you are out of work, will you be able to return? If so, when? You are entitled to recover for the wages you have lost in the past, but also wages you will lose in the future if you are unable to work again or if you are forced to work in position that pays you less money.
One of the most important aspects of your injury claim is pain and suffering. If you have a significant injury, you are entitled to recover these damages for both the past and the future. Again, many factors must be evaluated in determining your pain and suffering damages. There is no “one size fits all” answer. An experienced personal injury attorney will evaluate the above issues, and also help you understand the overall effect the injuries have had on your life. By engaging in this analysis, a fair estimate of your damages can be made.
Contact Jeff Murphy Law for a free consultation and to thoroughly discuss these issues. Let Jeff put his 28 years of experience to work for you. He will help you recover the full value of your claim.