When attorneys claim they have recovered a large sum of money for their clients following an auto accident, you don’t see the aspects of the case that warranted such a large personal injury settlement. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture.
Personal injury settlements consist of the elements of damages, referring to the losses suffered because of another person’s negligence. This varies greatly from person to person because damages are unique to the individual.
My best example is, after a car accident, a person can no longer play golf. For golfers who play for leisure, that wouldn’t be a valuable claim. However, if a PGA tournament winner can no longer play golf, their damages would be substantially greater because golf is their career.
Personal injury damages consist of medical expenses and rehabilitation, loss of the capacity to earn income and loss of enjoyment of life (pain and suffering). These damages are calculated both immediately after the accident and into the future. So, at the time of settlement, your case would be valued based upon the medical bills you’ve already incurred as well as the lost wages and pain and suffering up to the date of the proposed settlement. Your case would also include the value of those three elements into the future.
For example, if you had moderate medical treatment and lost one month of pay, but are reasonably certain to incur the expense of a surgery, leading to several months of lost pay and serious pain and suffering, the damages before and after the time for the contemplated settlement must be taken into account. The past medical expenses and lost wages can be easily calculated with the bills from your past treatment and your employment or tax records. However, the calculations going into the future are based on projections.
Oftentimes, we hire experts to calculate life care plans. These consist of a detailed analysis of your medical records to determine your future medical needs and calculations of those costs, including inflation, over your lifetime. In many situations, future damages are greater than the past, especially for younger clients.
The real question about the value of your case revolves around your pain and suffering. This calculation contemplates how your daily routine and your relationships were affected by the accident.
After an accident, many people can no longer do the things they used to do. Though most would agree you can’t put a price on these types of losses, we personalize each café by learning about the client and educating the insurance company about their pain and suffering to hold the negligent party responsible.
If you have suffered injuries because of an accident, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the potential value of your case before speaking to the insurance company. Certainly, if an attorney already represents you, asking for a second opinion might also be a great opportunity for you to understand the value of your claim.