On today’s podcast of “Everyday Law,” we discuss how to measure the value of your injury in $$$.
We discuss the three legal factors — the medical bills, the lost income, and the pain and suffering — as well as the emotional factor of the injustice by the defendant. In other words, how badly did the defendant act? The greater the injustice, the greater the award. And finally, we close by noting that injustice is the bedrock foundation of any claim.
You shouldn’t have to pay for what a careless person did to you. Your injuries are a debt that he owes you and he should pay that debt. The only question is this: What is that debt worth?
How does your attorney measure the value of your personal injury case in dollars? There are 3 factors to consider when assigning a dollar value to a case; medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. The goal of a personal injury claim is to compensate the injured party; that is, to make the injured party whole again. A personal injury claim is not the equivalent to winning the lottery. The objective is to try and put the injured party in as close a position as the injured party was in before the accident happened.
Many people feel hesitant in bringing a lawsuit with regard to a personal injury. They feel that filing a claim is somehow wrong or immoral. However, it is important to remember that when a claim arises, someone was in the wrong, being careless or reckless and that behavior led to an injury. When an injury occurs because of someone else’s fault or bad behavior, those injuries should be paid for by the person at fault, not the injured party.
One part of valuing personal injury cases are the medical bills. Bills for treatment from an accident may include bills for ambulance, hospital, physician, imaging, specialists, surgery, specialists and physical therapy. The amount of these bills can quickly accumulate and if you are not at fault, you should not have to go into debt or use your own health insurance to pay your accident-related bills if someone else is at fault.
Lost wages can be another component of valuing a personal injury case. An injured party may be unable to work or may have to take time off work for medical appointments. Lost wages are calculated into the measure of damages for a personal injury case.
The final piece of the value of a personal injury case is pain and suffering or the physical injury itself. Some injuries are easier to measure such as “hard” injuries. Such injuries, like a broken bone, are readily observable with an X-ray or other diagnostic test. Soft tissue injuries are harder to prove as the evidence for such injuries is a description of the injury or pain by the injured party. Soft tissue injuries do not show up on tests like “hard” injuries.
In addition to the 3 aforementioned factors, another consideration as to the value of a case is the severity of the injustice. A motivator of high damages is the bad conduct of the defendant. Juries tend to give bigger awards for cases that they perceive to have greater injustice or worse behavior by the defendant. Angry jurors tend to award more money.
Robert Monahan, Esq. is a lawyer in Gurnee, IL with his own practice in personal injury. He has a radio show on Thursday nights at 7 pm, called “Everyday Law,” on WRLR 98.3 FM, where he tries to demystify the law for the ordinary person. “Everyday Law” can be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes or other various podcatchers. His two websites are www.monahanfirm.com and www.gurneepersonalinjuryattorney.com. He also has two Facebook pages – “Robert A. Monahan, Esq.” and “Everyday Law.”