How Much is My Injury Worth?
One of the first questions that many victims have for their lawyers is, “How much are my injuries worth in a lawsuit?” The answer to that is impossible to know without delving deep into the case and often waiting months after the car crash or slip and fall to find out if the injuries are healing properly, whether there is any permanent damage, and what the future medical expenses and lost working capacity may be. As an injured accident victim with bills to pay now and real financial fears about the future, this can be difficult to hear. Below is an explanation of everything that goes into determining not just the value of your personal injury claim, but the amount of compensation available to you based on other factors such as insurance policies and shared negligence.
Why it Takes So Long For Injury Claims to be Settled
The more serious the injury, the longer it takes to settle or reach a lawsuit verdict. For example, if you were in a car crash, which broke your back and injured your spinal cord, the injury will need to be monitored for many months before doctors can make an accurate prediction about your future mobility. Some incomplete spinal cord injuries end up healing fairly well and the victim is able to walk normally without an assistive device or wheelchair, while other incomplete spinal cord injuries do not make such miraculous recoveries, and the victim is permanently paralyzed to some degree. Complete injuries vary in severity too. For example, a High Tetraplegia injury has a lifetime cost of $4.7 million for a 25-year-old victim, while an incomplete motor function injury has a lifetime cost of $1.6 million, according to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
Whatever your injuries are, we need time to monitor the injury’s progression, or lack of healing, to figure out the following:
- Lost earning capacity;
- Lost wages;
- Permanently disfigurement or scarring;
- Permanent disability; and
- Emotional distress caused by the injury; and
- Lost joy of life due to the disabling injury.
In general, the more extensive the injury, the more value is awarded to your claim. Additionally, the victim’s ability to heal must be factored in. Older victims are less likely to make full recoveries than younger victims and also take longer to heal because of an elevated inflammatory response, cell exhaustion, changing biomechanical environment, according to Outside Online.
Other factors that dictate your injury’s value and the compensation available to pursue include the following:
- Relevant Insurance Policies—What policy did the negligent party have? Are there other insurance policies to pursue from multiple sources? This determines how much total compensation is available. Your claim could be worth $1 million but if the negligent party was uninsured, you might not have many options other than your own UM coverage.
- Lost Earning Capacity—How much you made before the injury and how much you were estimated to earn for the rest of your career is relevant to your claim’s value. The value of a claim for a young investment banker earning six figures annually would be more than an elderly minimum wage worker’s claim, injuries being equal.
- Contributory Negligence—If your own negligence contributed to the accident, your compensation will be reduced by that percentage of fault.
Call an Ocala Personal Injury Attorney
For professional assistance following a serious injury, the Ocala personal injury attorneys at the Glover Law Firm can help. Call us today at 352-484-0775 to schedule a free consultation.