DETERMINING THE VALUE OF A PERSONAL INJURY CASE
May 18, 2015
Personal injury law encompasses a broad field of “wrongs” that can cause damage to another person, their property, or loved ones. This can include (but is not limited to) car, truck and motorcycle accidents, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, dog bites, plane and train accidents, slip and fall accidents, wrongful death, etc.
The value and outcome of a potential case are heavily dependent on the injuries involved, damages suffered, and the ability to prove liability (fault) and causation (i.e. that the accident resulted in your injury).
Who is at fault? One person being completely responsible for the accident is a lot simpler than dealing with comparative negligence, whereby each party is partially responsible
Did the accident at the heart of the case cause the injuries in question? Causation is often the most difficult aspect of the case and can require evidence, witnesses, and expert testimony
How can we make the victim “whole” again? This is typically done by addressing medical bills and any lost wages, pain, and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, any permanent disability, etc. that you suffered as the result of the accident, and whether these costs persist in the future.
Do both (or all) parties have insurance? What do the policies cover? Whether you have uninsured motorist insurance and/or the party you were in an accident with is covered will also affect the value of your case and settlements offered.
Length of Time It Could Take
There is a statute of limitations in Florida governing how long you have to bring your case after you are injured. Most accident-related cases are related to negligence, which carries a limit of four years after the accident. The exception is medical malpractice, which carries a two-year filing limit. This two-year limit also applies to bringing wrongful death claims.
It can take months or years to evaluate the true value of a case because it is largely dependent on what kind of injuries you’ve experienced and the complexity, longevity, etc. of these injuries.
Fees and Recovery
Your attorney is typically paid on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only recover their fees once you recover for the damages in your case.
Many cases settle precisely because the litigation process can be long-winded and, at times, risky. The settlement value of your case depends on discussing the following with an experienced attorney: the value of your damages, the chance of a verdict against you, and whether you are partially at fault. Even then, there will be additional factors affecting the value of your case that remain unknown.
It is always a good idea to chat with an attorney before accepting a settlement from an insurance company for your injuries so that you are as informed as possible and on the right path to recovering what you need.
Attorney Michael Walker has represented thousands of clients in personal injury cases over the course of his long career in Florida. The firm offers a free consultation and is always available to help you.