How Much Is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?
If you are ever injured due to the fault of someone else, one of the first steps you will need to take after seeking medical care is to determine how much your personal injury is worth if you plan to sue.
In other words, you will have to determine how much money you can win if you sue the person responsible for your injuries.
If the amount is too little, you may spend more in pursuing the lawsuit than you could possibly recover. Even if you stand to win a little bit, the stress and hassle of going through a lawsuit may not be worth it. So it's critical that you have a good understanding of much you can recover before commencing a lawsuit.
However, valuing a lawsuit is not always easy. Here are some ways to determine how much your injury lawsuit is worth.
In general, there are two main categories of damages that you can seek from a defendant: compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are also known as "actual damages," and are intended to compensate you for the damages actually suffered. For example, in a car accident lawsuit, compensatory damages might include medical bills, lost wages, and the cost of vehicle damage.
Many compensatory damage amounts are easy to calculate as you have medical and car payment bills as evidence. However, other forms of damage like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional injuries can be extremely difficult to quantify.
Along with compensatory damages, you may be able to seek punitive damages depending upon the nature of the injury. While compensatory damages look to "make the plaintiff whole" by compensating him or her for injuries suffered, punitive damages focus on punishing the defendant. In other words, punitive damages are paid to deter the defendant from engaging in similar conduct as well as dissuading similar potential defendants.
Many states provide guidelines on how much you can seek in punitive damages. You will probably want to consult with an attorney to see if you can seek punitive damages and the amount you can ask for.
The starting point to determine how much your personal injury case is worth is to add up your bills and figure out the quantifiable compensatory damages. After that, you may need to consult with an attorney to learn about any additional damages you may be able to collect before moving forward with a lawsuit.
- Injury Damages (FindLaw)
- The Plaintiff's Duty to Mitigate Damages (FindLaw)
- What exactly is a damages cap? (FindLaw)
- Motorcycle Crashes Cost $16B a Year: Report (FindLaw's Injured)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.