What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
“What is my personal injury case worth?” According to personal injury attorneys, this is the most asked question. Unfortunately, the answer is not so clear-cut. HS Law says that a few of the major items they consider when evaluating a case include:
- What kind of injury you have suffered
- Property damage
- How much your medical expenses total
- Jurisdiction of the at fault party and wage loss
To break it down further, let’s start with personal injury. This can be defined as a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. Personal injury cases represent the most common type of lawsuits filed in United States federal district courts, representing 25.5 percent of cases filed in 2015. Common types of personal injury claims include:
- Road Traffic Accidents
- Work Accidents
- Tripping Accidents
- Assault Claims
- Product Defect Accidents
Types of Damages
HS Law attorneys look at types of loss and injuries suffered to better classify damages. Damages can be more simply defined as the amount of money which a plaintiff (or the person suing) may be awarded in a lawsuit, according to Law.com. Furthermore, according to this case, “To be recognized at law, the loss must involve damage to property, or mental or physical injury.” There are two main types of damages that can be awarded to the person suing – compensatory damages and punitive damages. A judge awards these types of damages after proof that the defendant has been negligent.
Compensatory damages restore the victim’s financial status to the state it was in before the injury or accident. In other words, according to Wikipedia, “Compensatory damages are paid to compensate the claimant for loss, injury, or harm suffered as a result of another’s breach of duty.” Examples of compensatory damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss or impairment of physical or mental
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages because they are meant to punish the defendant. Plus, punitive damages are given to discourage repeated behavior.
Here are a few more interesting facts about punitive damages:
- Punitive damages are awarded when compensatory damages are not enough.
- They are not awarded in every case.
- Punitive damages are awarded in cases where there was a proven disregard of safety.
Punitive Damages in the Real World
Do you remember the court case Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants? Better known as the McDonald’s hot coffee case. According to this article published on Huffington Post, in 1992 Stella Liebeck of Albuquerque, New Mexico was in the passenger seat of her grandson’s car when she was severely burned by a cup of coffee ordered from the drive-through window. She sued the McDonald’s and a jury awarded her $200,00 in compensatory damages and $2.7 in punitive damages. “The compensatory damages were reduced to $160,000 because the jury found that Liebeck was at fault for 20 percent of the spill. Even though the punitive damages award seemed high, it only amounted to about two days’ worth of national coffee sales for McDonalds at that time,” says Huffington Post.
How to Get a Fair Settlement
As you’ve read, figuring out how much your case may be worth is a complicated process. What is my personal injury case worth is dependent on a multitude of factors. HS Law can help navigate the complex legal world and answer questions pertaining to your injuries and lost wages. Call HS Law today to speak with an experienced lawyer. Call (404) 400-1175 or click on the contact form to schedule a free consultation.