Determining the Value of Your Case
Injury Claim Calculator
One of the most asked questions by personal injury victims is, “What do you think my case is worth?” This is not always an easy question to answer, as there are many factors to consider when determining the value of a personal injury claim.
To recover compensation for a bodily injury, a personal injury victim must prove five things:
- That the defendant owed the personal injury victim a duty to prevent harm, whether contractual, statutory, or as a matter of common law;
- That the defendant breached that duty;
- That the breach of the duty caused the personal injury victim’s injuries;
- That the injuries caused by the breach of the duty were reasonably foreseeable; and
- That the injuries resulted in damages that the law allows the personal injury victim to be compensated for.
Assuming your injuries were caused by a car accident, the questions of duty and breach of that duty are relatively straightforward, as everybody is required to drive their vehicle responsibly to prevent injury to others. If the other driver acted intentionally, recklessly (knowingly disregarding a high risk of harm), or negligently (not acting reasonably under the circumstances), the first two prongs of that five-part test are met – they had a duty to prevent harm and breached that duty.
However, sometimes, the other driver or their insurance company will argue that the accident wasn’t the driver’s fault or was otherwise due to the fault of someone else. Thus, what the driver or their insurer are arguing is that the other driver did not breach their duty of care. While that may be the case in rare instances, fault can almost always be determined to lie against one or more drivers involved in the collision.
How do you calculate the settlement value of a case?
For those who are seriously injured, your financial recovery is generally limited to liability policy limits, the maximum amount of available insurance. For example, if you are hit by a driver who carries $50,000, the maximum amount you can recover is $50,000. If you carry your own auto insurance, you may be able to collect additional funds from your own policy under its uninsured or underinsured motorist coverages.
The reason that the policy limits generally dictate the maximum you can recover for your injuries is relatively simple. In most cases, the adverse party can file bankruptcy to extinguish their liability over and above the applicable policy limits. And, even if they don’t, it is generally very difficult to track down and collect another person’s assets.
That being said, insurers are notoriously evasive in disclosing all applicable liability policies that may cover a personal injury claim. With rare exceptions, they refuse to disclose policy limits, stackable policies, umbrella policies, and so on. Generally, only when an attorney is involved will they shoot straight – and even then, it often takes filing of a lawsuit to get them to come clean.
What is my personal injury case worth?
Typically, when an offer is made to settle your claim, the insurance company is supposed to have taken into account your past and future medical bills, lost wages, and any other out-of-pocket expenses you incurred related to your accident (“economic damages”), as well as your pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your injuries (“noneconomic damages”).
The amount offered for pain and suffering is determined by your injuries, the type of medical treatment you received for those injuries, your scarring or disfigurement, any physical limitations your injuries have caused, your psychological stress, and the level of interference your injuries caused in your activities of daily living. Some injuries require surgery and/or months of physical therapy. Generally speaking, the more complex the injuries and medical treatment, the more value the claim has, and thus, the more money you should be offered to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
What we do
If you have been seriously hurt, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. This is particularly true where there are numerous time limitations involved (statute of limitations, statute of ultimate repose, tort claim notice timelines, etc.) as well as complex subrogation issues involving related insurance carriers (including health insurance, personal injury protection coverage, etc.) and claim preservation procedures primarily involving uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Sadly, it’s all quite confusing and fraught with peril, even for those firms that don’t specialize in personal injury.
But we do specialize. At Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, we use our vast personal injury experience to give you insight as to how the insurance adjuster will value your claim. We then come up with the best strategy to help ensure you the best settlement possible for your claim while making sure that the various time limits, subrogation issues, and claim preservation procedures are all adequately met.
And when you hire DWC, it doesn’t mean that your claim will have to be filed and go through trial. Indeed, according to Martindale-Nolo’s most recent survey of readers who had received compensation for a motor vehicle accident, 98% of those people obtained their funds through settlement rather than trial. This is consistent with our own observations over several decades – when we get involved, the case rarely has to go all the way to trial; however, the client almost always receives significantly more in their pocket than the insurance company’s best offer.
If you are hurt, play it safe – call DWC today at 1-800-285-8678.