When you are injured due to the negligence of another, you have the right to pursue a personal injury case to seek compensation for your injuries and financial losses. How much your case is worth will depend on several different factors:
- The amount of damages you suffer, both economic and non-economic;
- How clearly liability can be established; and
- The nature of your injuries.
Typically, when you consult with an attorney regarding a possible personal injury lawsuit, you are still receiving medical treatment for your injuries. At this stage, no personal injury attorney can honestly say how much your case is worth. Because a large part of any award you receive will depend upon the ultimate cost of your medical care, it is uncertain what treatment will be needed in the long-run. Nonetheless, here is a look at how you can get an idea of what your Louisiana personal injury case might be worth.
The amount of damages you suffered is perhaps the largest determining factor in the worth of your personal injury case. There are two types of damages to be considered:
- Economic damages and
- Non-economic damages.
Economic damages include items such as your medical expenses, the cost of prescription drugs, loss of earnings, damage to property, or any economic loss having specific monetary value. These are easily quantifiable and, thus, easier to be assigned.
Non-economic damages consist of aspects such as pain, suffering, and emotional trauma. Non-economic damages are those to which a specific monetary value is difficult to assign. As plaintiffs and insurance companies rarely agree on this point, the judge or jury in personal injury cases will typically make this determination based on a variety of factors.
A case in which the defendant is clearly liable is worth more than a case in which his or her liability is disputed. In addition, your own percentage of liability can devalue the worth of your personal injury case. In Louisiana, compensation for personal injuries is determined on the basis of “comparative fault.” For example, if you are found to be 60 percent at-fault for the accident in which you were injured, you will only be able to recover 40 percent of your damages. Likewise, if you are 90 percent at-fault, then your award will be reduced to only 10 percent of your damages.
Finally, the nature and extent of your injuries play a large part in the worth of your personal injury case, in terms of both economic and non-economic damages.
In this case, there are two main considerations:
- The nature of your injury; in particular, the type of injury you have suffered.
- The extent of the injury in relation to the intensity, frequency and duration of any medical treatment that you will require, and the existence of any permanent impairment. If the testimony of expert witnesses, such as qualified medical professionals, can lead the court to believe with reasonable certainty that your injuries will require extended or lifelong treatment, or that you will be permanently impaired, your case will typically be worth much more.
Because the value of your Louisiana personal injury case depends on a variety of both quantifiable and unquantifiable variables, no personal injury attorney can say with reasonable certainty how much your case will be worth. Certain factors, such as the amount of non-economic damages a judge or jury may assign and the amount of medical treatment you will require, make it difficult to know exactly how much your case is worth.
By consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney, you may be able to get an idea of the case’s value based on similar cases that the attorney has successfully pursued in the past. Learn about your legal rights from an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney by calling Herman, Herman & Katz, LLC at 504-581-4892 or by filling out our free, no obligation case review form.