How Much Is a Personal Injury Case Worth?

If you or somebody you love sustained an injury that was caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses. These cases can become complicated, but they may be the only way for a victim to recover the compensation they are entitled to. Determining how much a personal injury case is worth is no easy task, and it is strongly advisable that you work with a skilled Newport Beach personal injury attorney from the outset of your case. Here, we want to discuss how the total value of a personal injury case is reached.

Adding the Types of Damages in the Case

First, a lawyer will help you determine the total worth of your case by calculating the compensable damages. The damages awarded in a personal injury case are typically categorized in one of two ways – special damages and general damages.

Special damages are those that are relatively easy to calculate because they have receipts, bills, and income statements that can be analyzed and added up. For example, some of the most common special damages in a personal injury case include:

  • Medical bills
  • Prescription medications and medical devices
  • Lost income
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses caused by the injury
  • Property damage expenses

General damages are those that are not as easy to calculate, and are generally considered “pain and suffering damages.” This can include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of personal enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium (for a spouse)
  • Future expected medical bills

Unlike special damages, general damages can be more difficult to calculate because they do not come with specific bills or receipts. Attorneys will often calculate all of the special damages in the case and then use a multiplier method to determine the amount of general damages.

No two personal injury cases are alike, and the total worth of a case will depend on the various factors related to each particular situation.

Comparative Negligence and Plaintiff Fault

You may have heard that if a person shares any fault for their injury that they will not be able to recover compensation. This is false. California operates under a pure comparative negligence system. This means that victims can collect compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for the incident that caused their injury. However, the total amount of compensation they are awarded will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.

For example, if a victim in a premises liability case is awarded $100,000 in total damages, but a jury determines that the victim is 20% responsible for their injury, then they will only receive $80,000 in total compensation.

Working With an Attorney to Help Calculate Damages

Working with an attorney in these cases is important. An attorney will have the resources and experience necessary to conduct a full investigation to determine liability in the case. An attorney can also ensure you are evaluated by a trusted medical and economic professionals who can help calculate the total current and future expected expenses caused by the injury.

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