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February 1, 2018

What is my case worth?

When injured or in a car accident, people often wonder, “What is my case worth?”

The short answer: it depends. For personal injury cases, individuals can recover damages including for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage and future damages such as future medical expenses.

If you are in a car or truck accident, the property damage is usually straightforward. You will also have medical bills and liens. The amount you or your medical insurance company has paid can be recovered at trial or through a settlement. That number is also typically straightforward. If you lost wages, you need to keep track of the amount of money you missed because of the injury. This includes vacation days.

Future damages, as well as pain and suffering, are more difficult. Future damages can include future lost wages or support. This can require an expert to set forth 1.) the inability to work, caused by the injury and 2.) the total amount you will miss. Future medical requires an expert as well. A surgeon is necessary to testify that an individual will require a future surgery in a case where a future surgery will likely be necessary.

First, the person/company that injured you must be liable. If not, you never reach the damage issue. This is very fact intensive and can require experts. In products liability cases, you might need an engineer to talk about a dangerous/defective machine. In a car or truck accident, you might need an accident reconstruction expert. Pleban & Petruska’s lawyers can help with these decisions. Liability issues impact settlement negotiations and even jury verdicts.

In a car accident case, where appropriate, a jury might be able to assess a percentage of fault against you. This occurs in cases where the defendant has evidence that the plaintiff was, for example, driving too fast for the conditions or failed to yield to the right of way, etc. In that type of case, if your case is worth $1,000,000.00, but a jury finds you are 50% responsible for the accident, the total recovery would be $500,000.00.

Venue (the court in which your case is litigated) can impact the value of your case. For instance, some venues are more plaintiff-friendly. So, two cases with identical facts will have different values depending on the venue.

Some cases warrant punitive damages. These are damages awarded to deter the behavior that caused your injury. There are many considerations to assess to determine whether 1.) the case is appropriate for punitive damages and 2.) the amount of punitive damages we believe will be awarded.

These are just some considerations with assessing the value of your case. We can look at past jury verdicts and use our decades of experience to advise what we think the most likely outcome will be if the case is tried to a jury. We pay attention to the details of each and every case to make these determinations, as no two cases are identical.

At Pleban & Petruska, we offer free, no obligation consultations for all injury cases. Call, email, or schedule a consultation if we can be of service — 314.645.6666.

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