Me The Money: What Is My Case Worth?
By: Jason Neufeld,
This question is probably one of the
most frequently asked questions we receive after conducting our initial client interview. Some people have the idea in their
head that, if they get into a minor car accident, they should be entitled to massive amounts of money (a fallacy propagated
by insurance companies to make you think that juries consistently churn out six and seven figure verdicts, which is ridiculous).
Believe me when I tell you: you do not want to be
one of our clients who are awarded multiple-millions of dollars; as those clients tend to be involved in near-death injuries
or suffer severe brain damage, etc…
The real answer to the question: “What is my case worth?”
is…. IT DEPENDS. The money a jury awards are broadly categorized as (i) Economic Damages and (ii) Non-Economic Damages,
which are defined as follows:
Economic Damages: - past and future medical expenses (hospital and emergency room expenses, physical
therapy, chiropractor visits, prescriptions);- past and future lost income (income you lost as a result of the injury is compensable.
If, as a result of the injury, you are no longer able to work or unable to make as much money because of new restrictions,
such loss is compensable as well);- property damage
Non-Economic Damages: - pain and suffering / mental anguish (will depend on the nature of the injury and,
as the name suggests, how much suffering the plaintiff had, and will continue to, endure – this a very subjective standard);
loss of consortium (sex), companionship,
comfort, affection of injured spouse (also a fairly subjective standard).
Apportionment of liability (or fault) can also drastically
affect the value of a case. The defense attorney, in any personal injury case, will always attempt to place some (if not all)
of the blame on the injured party by arguing that the plaintiff was not acting reasonably under the circumstances. So if a
defense attorney can convince a jury that the injured party was 50% responsible for the accident, the injured party will only
be awarded ½ of what the damages that a jury determines was related to the accident. In other words, if a jury believes
that the injured party is entitled to $100,000 in both economic and non-economic damages, but also finds that the injured
party was 50% at fault in the accident, the injured party will only receive $50,000.
Bottom line: many factors go into determining what a personal
injury case is worth. Some of those factors cannot be fully calculated at the time when the potential client comes to our
office. For example, until our client has completed treatment with their medical professionals (or has a clear understanding
of how much treatment will be required for the foreseeable future), there is no way for a personal injury attorney to clearly
place a dollar value on the medical expenses that a client will require. But having a good personal injury attorney in your
corner to monitor your progress, keep files of all recoverable expenses, and keep tabs on insurance companies who are always
looking to minimize what they pay those who are injured, is an important factor in maximizing the amount of money an injured
party is entitled to receive.
Jason Neufeld, Esq. is an associate with Neufeld,
Kleinberg & Pinkiert P.A (NKP). For more information, please visit http://www.neufeldlawfirm.com/, dial 1-800-379-TEAM (8326), or email Jason directly at firstname.lastname@example.org