How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
You were rear-ended and suffered whiplash. You slipped on a wet floor and fractured your ankle. You are temporarily disabled by a piece of heavy machinery at work. Whether your injuries happened in a car accident, because of poor maintenance, or another preventable mishap, you need to be compensated appropriately.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to estimating personal injury compensation. No two accidents or injuries are identical, and any attorney who tells you during the first consultation that your case is worth “X amount” of dollars, is not being honest.
When injured clients come to Douglas & London looking for answers about the value of their claim, we are candid in our response. It takes time and a thorough investigation to calculate the total value of your losses. After all, it isn’t just monetary cost, but how your injuries have impacted your relationships, your emotional well-being, and your life in general.
Assigning an accurate value to damages
Personal injury victims can experience a wide range of consequences, from loss of work and dwindling finances to loss of enjoyment of life. Some may find themselves seeking psychotherapy or grappling to make a marriage work as bankruptcy looms.
That’s why your choice of personal injury lawyer matters. You need an advocate who is not only understanding of your situation but has the experience and knowledge to assign a proper monetary value to your economic and non-economic losses. This entails hiring experts: specialists in their field who can present a compelling picture of your current and future struggles and needs.
Experts may include vocational rehabilitation specialists, life care planners, orthopedists, as well as economists who can gauge loss of future earnings. Assigning an accurate value to your pain and suffering, changes to your daily life, and your emotional distress is crucial, and a skilled personal injury lawyer can assist with this step.
Elements that determine the value of a personal injury claim
New York is a No-Fault state, so if you were hurt in a car accident, you would seek compensation through your own insurance company. In this situation, you could receive benefits without having to prove or establish liability. If, however, you file a lawsuit against a third-party, establishing liability is key to a favorable outcome.
Your attorney must collect solid evidence that shows the defendant was negligent, and that their breach of duty was the primary cause of your injuries and damages.
Other variables that will influence a damage award:
- Your age and occupation
- The type and severity of your injuries
- Your credibility as a plaintiff
- If you were left disfigured, scarred, or with a permanent disability
- If future surgeries and ongoing medical care are required
- Your loss of earning capacity
- If you incurred out-of-pocket costs for medical treatment
- Potential assets and insurance coverage of the defendant
- Your pain, suffering and emotional distress
Rules on comparative negligence in New York
In some personal injury cases, the defendant may argue that you are partially to blame for the accident that caused your injuries. New York State follows pure comparative negligence laws, meaning that you can still collect compensation even if you were partly to blame for the incident. The caveat is that your settlement will be reduced by the percentage that you are deemed liable.
Insurers want to minimize their liability and may try and twist your words to this effect. By reducing their share of liability, the settlement payout will be lower. For this reason, it’s important to let your injury attorney handle all communications with the defendant’s insurance company.
Discuss your personal injury case with Douglas & London
If you have questions about the worth of a potential personal injury case, take advantage of a complimentary case evaluation with a New York City personal injury lawyer. Douglas & London leverage their resources and extensive knowledge to maximize your compensation. Focus on your recovery, and let us handle the rest.