If you have been harmed in an accident, you are likely wondering if you have a case and how much it might be worth. Googling your personal injury case value can lead you down a rabbit hole of misplaced expectations in either direction!
Keep in mind that the true value of your personal injury claim is only based on what you can, in fact collect. For instance, if a plaintiff has an extensive burn case with millions of dollars of health care costs and millions worth of lost wages, but can only collect $20,000, then that’s what the case is worth.
A case with less damage than the burn victim, (for example, a broken leg) could yield similar compensation. The injury resulted from a clear liability vehicle collision from a drunk driver with numerous previous drunk driving convictions; the defendant has a million-dollar insurance policy. This case could be worth $20,000, just like in the above example, give, or take based on how severe the break is and the lost income and future impairment.
In replying to the significant question “How much is my personal injury case worth?”, don’t expect a simple answer. One way to look at it is through a typical formula used by insurance companies: What a jury would award subtracted by the costs of going to trial, multiplied by the chance of winning, minus the time value of money.
You also have to consider many different factors and various questions that affect the value of a PI claim, including the following:
After an accident in North Carolina, you can recover compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory attempts to put you back in the financial place you were in if the accident hadn’t happened and includes medical treatment costs, lost wages, and compensation for property loss. You can also receive money for pain and suffering, but it’s more difficult to calculate this because there’s no specific value for these non-economic damages.
These are given when the court finds that the defendant was malicious or was so negligent that they need to be punished beyond merely losing the lawsuit. FYI, North Carolina caps punitive damages at 3x the amount of the compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is higher.
If the wrongdoer doesn’t have any assets or insurance, then the case could be worth little to nothing. When insurance does exist, the adjuster wants to give you the lowest that they can. While insurance covers treatment and lost wages, it doesn’t cover emotional distress.
Depending on how you and the wrongdoer come across and what you can prove helps to determine the value of your case. This also includes what the defendant was doing at the time of the accident and whether you contributed to the accident or your injuries.
The skill and experience of your attorney in your personal injury case can contribute to the value of your case which is one of the many reasons to hire the highly experienced team at Tatum & Atkinson. Our attorneys understand how to develop a valid case by gathering evidence and dealing with insurance adjusters and can help you get more compensation than you could on your own. Contact a Tatum & Atkinson attorney for more information on your specific case.