If you were recently injured in an automobile collision or slip and fall accident, you may be wondering:
How much is my case worth? Who is responsible for my damages?
In a previous video, I discussed who is responsible for paying damages after an auto wreck or other personal injury accident. This article will discuss how attorneys determine the value of personal injury cases. The answer to the question as to the value of a particular Louisiana injury case is that it depends on a variety of factors. The following factors will need to be evaluated:
- The Value of Pain and Suffering: Each accident victim will be entitled to pain and suffering. Pain and suffering for a soft tissue injury will generally be less valuable than an injury involving a herniated or bulging disc in the spine. An experienced attorney will look at prior case awards to determine what any given injury will likely be worth at trial. The amount determined will guide the settlement negotiation process. Click here for Lawyer Don’s article explaining how to prove pain and suffering.
- Past Lost Income: An accident victim will be entitled to lost wages to the extent that the injury prevented him or her from returning to work. Please review my lost wages article, which explains how to prove lost wage awards.
- Future Lost Income: An accident victim who is too injured to work in the future will be entitled to an award for future lost wages. To prove future lost wages a plaintiff (accident victim) will need medical documentation showing that his or her doctors opine that plaintiff will be unable to return to work for the long term.
- Past Medical Bills: Add all of plaintiff’s accident related medical bills up. The total amount will be the value of past medical bills that you will be able to collect from the defendant insurance company.
- Future Medical Bills: Your doctors should give opinions about the future medical treatment that you will need to heal your injuries. The defendants will be responsible for paying the total amount. Typically, life care planners are retained to offer a report on the value of the future medical treatment recommended. Life care planners have special certifications, which allow them to give future medical cost values in court.
- Loss of Consortium: If your spouse has cared for you as the result of your accident and injury, a jury may award your spouse an amount to compensate your spouse for the hardship he or she has experienced as the result of your injury.
- Venue or Location of the Accident Claim: The Parish where your lawsuit will be filed may affect the value of your case. Cases in Parishes with more conservative jury pools will be less valuable than cases pending in more urban Parishes. For instance, an injury case involving an accident occurring in Kenner, Metairie or the West Bank may be considered less valuable than an accident case with similar injuries occurring in New Orleans. That is because the New Orleans’ juries typically award more money than juries in Jefferson Parish.
- Property Damage: The amount of damage to your vehicle should also be added to the total amount that you are owed in automobile accident cases.
After the above categories are analyzed an experienced attorney will be able to give you an idea of what your case may be worth. However, the total value of the case may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you for the accident. This is because Louisiana is a comparative fault state.
If you have questions about the value of your personal injury case (including auto accident cases), contact Lawyer Don D’Aunoy today for a free case consultation: 504-508-6414.