What is my personal injury case worth?
“Many websites will offer a free personal injury calculator to give you an idea of what your case is worth. The personal injury websites offer multipliers and formulas and want you to plug in potential claim information to calculate those personal injury numbers. NOT GOOD! I believe this method can severely undervalue many claims and plays right into insurance company’s personal injury claim strategies of paying you as little as possible. At Wolf & Pravato, we fight to maximize every single client’s personal injury or wrongful death claim with our proven winning strategies.” -attorney Richard Pravato
Before you can find out what your personal injury case is worth, you have to be aware of the types of damages you can be compensated for. When dealing with what is categorized as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of companionship of a spouse, or loss of enjoyment of life, the severity of the damage is difficult to determine since none of the costs for the damage are tangible. The complexity of a pain and suffering claim has to do with not just the physical pain undergone throughout the process of recovery/rehabilitation with possible future inabilities to follow, but also the mental toll of being overwhelmed with a flood of mixed emotions that occur during and after the incident. Because these emotions cannot be identified on any kind of medical scan, it makes these claims harder to assess. Many courts find themselves wary of pain and suffering claims because they find it can be easy to expand on that type of lawsuit. The claimant does, however, have some flexibility in the state of Florida as the victim of an injury to bring upon evidence to solidify the extent of their damage.
Each and every case has a fact pattern that is unique from the other, and therefore will have to be examined by the court because pain will always be perceived individually and subjectively.
With that being said, the next step to take for someone with a pain and suffering claim (if it goes to court) is to find what sort of documentation is approved and accepted as support for their claim.
There are several types of documents a claimant is advised to use when trying to reinforce his or her claim for pain and suffering. The first is a mental health professional’s opinion on paper referring to the injury victim’s state of mind and whether his or her pain and suffering is actually deemed worthy and sufficient for legal purposes.
Another option for documentation would be the injury victim’s testimony. A recap of their day-to-day suffering can impact the jury’s judgment, as it can be a challenge to exude those experiences any other way.
Other important pieces of documentation worth gathering to show in court would be a doctor’s note of the victim’s pain and suffering along with the prescription history, testimony from the victim’s spouse or family that explains how the injured victim’s suffering affected the family unit, and recorded opinions from experts centralizing on the claimant’s state of mind and how it compares to others in similar scenarios.
Providing objective testimony of what the claimant is no longer physically able to do versus what he or she did before the accident can be very convincing evidence. The description of the experience could be something as simple as “he no longer can sleep on his back due to the pain.” It may seem like a minor issue, but it can be used as a resourceful piece of information because it allows every person in the jury to relate to those statements as such.
PAIN AND SUFFERING
In order to assess the damages under Florida’s statutes for pain and suffering (at least under Fl. St. 627.737, which applies to traffic accidents) the claimant must have a “permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.” If not that, then he must have endured “[s]significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.” And if not that, then the claimant must be deceased and his estate is bringing the claim for pain and suffering on his behalf.
The other type of damage that affects what your personal injury case is worth falls under the category of economic damages, where the expense of the damage is paid out-of-pocket. This includes past medical bills, future medical expenses, lost earnings, future lost earnings, property damage, loss of use of a vehicle, etc. There are also the types of damages that are categorized as punitive damages, where, according to the Legal Information Institute, they are “awarded in addition to actual damages in certain circumstances. Punitive damages are considered punishment and are typically awarded at the court’s discretion when the defendant’s behavior is found to be especially harmful.”
There are many additional factors that we consider when attempting to value our clients’ cases. Simply plugging numbers into a made up formula can sell your case short. That is why hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is very important to not only winning your case, but to also achieving the maximum compensation possible. Here are some additional factors we look at:
- The severity of your injuries
- The extent of a possible head injury and TBI
- Permanent and lasting effects
- Anticipated medical treatment for remaining life
- Anticipated lost wages and other losses for life
- Impact on family life
- Impact on daily life
Another factor that is very important in determining the value of a case is fault. Placing 100% of the blame on the at-fault driver, or the other party or business, is a top priority at Wolf & Pravato. Our team of trial attorneys and experts in engineering and reconstruction fight to ensure that we win any question of “who is at fault” or liability. In Florida, courts follow a pure comparative negligence recovery system. This means that your recovery is reduced by your amount of fault in an accident or incident. Ensuring fault is placed where it belongs is critical to winning your personal injury case, and the law office of Wolf & Pravato has a team of trial attorneys who are ready to fight for you.
Each case is unique and requires a careful analysis by a qualified, experienced trial attorney. Many law firms never go to trial and have never presented a client’s claim to a jury. The entire legal team at Wolf & Pravato is made up of experienced trial attorneys with decades of experience and a winning record. There are too many variables and factors that make determining the value of any case difficult to do without the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact us today at (954) 633-8270 to schedule your free consultation to discuss your case and get a better idea of its value.