Having explained when to hire a personal injury lawyer, how to pay for that attorney on a contingency basis, and having provided insight into statutes of limitations in Virginia for personal injury actions, I’ll next tackle a commonly asked question: what is my injury case worth?
The easy answer to this question is this: if you go to trial, whatever the trier of fact (judge or jury) finds the value to be based on the law and evidence presented; and if you settle, whatever you and the person that hurt you (or his insurance company) agree it is.
The more difficult issue that this question is really getting at is: how do you predict what a judge, jury or insurance company is going to conclude is the value of your case so that you can decide whether it is worth the risk, time, expense, inconvenience, and emotional stress of going to trial, or whether you should settle for the amount that the other side offers in settlement?
There is no easy answer to this question. Even though many insurance companies use computer programs or formulas to predict a case’s value based on what the insurance companies consider to be objective data, every case is different. Every plaintiff is different and the effect of any particular injury on each particular person is unique to that person.
If you have been injured because of the negligence or intentional acts of some other person or company, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will take the time and make the effort necessary to properly evaluate how the judge or jury will likely value your case. Some of the things that an experienced personal injury attorney will want to know are:
– The details of the event that caused you injuries;
– The other side’s reaction to the injuries he/she caused you;
– The nature and severity of your injuries;
– Your course of your treatment (when did it start, who have you seen, how often have you been seen, are you treating now, etc.);
– The cost of your past treatment;
– Whether you have reached MMI (maximum medical improvement) or whether you need future treatment;
– If you need future treatment, what is it and what will it cost;
– Whether your injuries are permanent;
– If your injuries are permanent, what is your permanent impairment rating;
– Whether your injuries or treatment resulted in any scarring disfigurement;
– Whether you have any lost wages or lost earning capacity as a result of your injuries; and
– How your injuries have impacted your life, including the emotional and/or psychological impact (family, friends, co-workers, fellow church, club, or team members, etc. are a great source for this information).
Jonathan T. Wren, the author of this post, works in the Charlottesville, Virginia office of MartinWren, P.C., where he is head of the firm’s Charlottesville Personal Injury Lawyers group. Jonathan handles personal injury actions of all shapes and sizes, including car collisions as a Charlottesville automobile accident lawyer. Jonathan also represents individuals injured by defective products, premises liability as a Charlottesville slip and fall lawyer, and he represents clients suffering from catastrophic injuries. Jonathan is an active member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, and he has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyer’s Magazine in personal injury litigation. If you have been injured in an accident, Jonathan offers free consultations and he would be happy to discuss your case with you. Feel free to call him at 434-817-3100.