Valuing a Case
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand, or “case value” calculator, that determines a quick and accurate monetary value for your case.
There are two main factors; your case is worth one of two things:
- It is worth what a jury composed of people we have never meet will say it is worth, after hearing all the evidence, or,
- It is worth what a particular insurance company or defendant is willing to pay after consulting with their attorney. In other words, to some extent, we are just guessing.
Although case values may not be easily determined, jury verdicts commonly fall mostly into the area of value that seems reasonable for the facts of the case.
Since jurors have no more experience than you do, you may ask what they consider in their determination. The most common questions jurors have are: what are the “special damages” or “wage loss” and “did the plaintiff lose anything else that they had to pay for out of pocket?”
In addition to the previous questions, jurors also have the obvious question of “How bad was the collision?” Jurors tend to correlate injuries with the amount of damage the vehicle shows and that of your riding gear. If your riding protective gear is torn up from sliding across pavement, this may be viewed as an important piece of evidence. Similarly, a helmet with accident markings on it, or a badly bent up bike will have a similar effects. Doctors and lawyers see injuries from motorcycle accidents on a daily basis and understand that there isn’t always a correlation between the damage of the property and the damage to the rider. However, even the most experienced professionals and jury alike, can be greatly affected by visual evidence of a “bad accident”.
Motorcycle injuries can range from short recovery times such as days or weeks to as long as a lifetime of debilitation depending of the devastation of impact the rider endures. The more permanent an injury is, the more value it has for settlement or trial. In comparison, a minor cut that heals completely has nowhere near the value of a permanent scar that last forever.
The monetary value of your case tends to increase in correlation to the amount of which the injuries impede your daily routines and work life. The more the injuries prevent you from performing daily tasks or prohibit you from you work place abilities the more your case is worth.
It is important to keep in mind that your injuries must be documented in order to receive compensation. By not receiving medical help or documentation an adjustor or jury may feel as though you do not deserve the compensation you are requesting, even if you continue to experience pain every day after your accident.
Keep in mind, when being examined by a doctor or testifying in your deposition, your description of your pain and difficulty will make a huge difference in how your injury is valued. Imagine you are in the courtroom amongst the jury and you are listening to testimony, now compare: “My hand hurts”, to, “When I use my hand to operate equipment at work, I get a pain on the back of the hand between where the second and third fingers are, and it travels all the way back to my wrist. It gets worse very quickly if I try to continue using it”. Which do you perceive as having more value? The more specifics that are described in your explanation, the more information there is to value your case.
On the far end of the injury spectrum are spinal cord cases. When dealing with these types of cases it is important to keep in mind the following questions:
- What costs will I incur in the future?
- How will my Medical bills be paid?
- Will I need ongoing assistance at home?
In many instances, spinal cord cases result in multi-million dollar awards since the cases involves multi-million dollar injury. Take it from us; the individual plaintiffs in these types of cases deserve every dollar.