While “what’s my case worth?” might be one of the most common questions personal injury attorney get, “how much can you approve me for?” is definitely our most common question at Uplift.
Because we typically can advance up to a percentage (10% – 15%) of conservatively estimated case value, the first question answers the second.
But how much is your case really worth? Your attorney might have told you that it was worth millions, but how can you really know?
This guide serves to help plaintiffs understand, for themselves, the intrinsic value of a general personal injury claim.
Who done it?
The first question is who’s at fault. If the incident was a car accident, it may be clear from damage or a traffic accident report who will be found at fault.
With premises liability, sometimes it can be a little less straightforward, and this can affect the value of your case.
In premises liability cases, comparative negligence can reduce the value of your case outright by the percentage the plaintiff is found at fault for the incident.
For example, if your apartment roof caves in, it is unlikely you are to blame — you will very likely have a good case. However, if you are skateboarding in a public park and injure yourself, you might be found entirely at fault and have no case.
Give it to me straight doc… How bad is it?
What treatment have you had? What treatment is it likely you’ll need in the future? Behind liability, damages might be the most important in determining what you’re due.
Medical expenses incurred to-date may be one of the easiest to quantify. Your attorney has likely kept good records of all bills relating to your care.
Slightly tougher to estimate is the cost of future medical care. For one, you have to estimate how long it might take you to recover.
Have your injuries improved? Will you need additional care? If so, it is important to add in estimated future medical expenses. Talk to your doctor about the optimal treatment plan for your injuries.
Remember, it’s likely going to be a one-time payment. If you are likely to require additional care, it’s important that these figures are reflected in your settlement.
They took my job!
Medical damages are just one piece of the pie. If you’re injured and unable to work, including lost wages is of the utmost importance.
What was your yearly pay? What is it now? Calculate the difference and project it out into the future with inflation.
Have you recovered partially and returned to work? If you’re likely to miss work for future treatment, the lost wages should be included here.
Being injured sucks – what do I get for that?
Pain and suffering is one of the tougher items to try to directly calculate. The concept is an attempt to capture the rest of your damages, aside from lost wages and medical expenses.
Do you have post-traumatic stress from your incident? Do you have ongoing pain? Has your accident caused you to move away from hobbies or activities you love?
Pain and suffering can be a substantial portion of your case value, especially with loss of consortium.
If it’s basic arithmetic, why did I hire this schmuck attorney?
This calculation of case value is based on intrinsic value of your damages, and does not take into account local courtroom dynamics.
While most cases settle well before trial, the expected value and cost of trial is considered by both sides.
This means that even though your injury case is unlikely to go to trial, the local courtroom and population demographics play a huge role in your settlement.
A good injury attorney should have a decent idea of settlements and verdicts in your locale.
So you’re telling me my case is worth millions?
Well, if you now have an idea of what you’re due, it now has to be compared to what the other side can pay. A large insurance policy can make all the difference in your recovery.
Most commercial buildings and vehicles will have $500,000+ in coverage. Certain vehicles and premises will have substantially more.
The maximum you can reliably recover in personal injury is policy limits. Note however that in certain cases, as with umbrella coverage, there could be a recovery in excess of standard limits.
Uplift Legal Funding
Uplift Legal Funding provides pre-settlement funding on a wide variety of personal injury cases. We welcome the opportunity to help clients get funding quickly and at reasonable rates.