How much is my case worth? How much can I sue for?
Your case’s value is determined by three key items: damages, liability and insurance.
Some damages caused by an accident are easily measured in dollars. Injuries require treatment ranging from physical therapy to surgery that is quantified in the form of medical bills. However, you won’t know the exact value of your injuries until you’ve stopped treating and reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). There are two different forms of damages: Physical Damages & Money Damages.
- Physical Damages – injuries caused to your body.
- Money Damages – money lost because of your inability to work as a result of your accident. Also, if your injuries will prevent you from returning to the type of work you had been doing prior to your accident.
Lost wages and loss of future earning potential can be a very large component of your personal injury claim. Wage loss is calculated by multiplying your wages by the amount of time you missed, or are expected to miss, from work as a result of the accident. Additionally, consideration will be given if your injuries will affect your future earning potential.
Other damages such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, emotional distress, loss of life and limb are more difficult to measure in dollars, but should also be considered.
Liability is important because the defendant should only have to pay when the accident was their fault. It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove who was liable for the accident. In some cases liability is clear, such as a rear-end auto accident, but in other cases liability is hard to prove. If liability is hard to prove then estimating the value of the case becomes more difficult because of the elevated risk.
When you sue for damages generally you can only recover up to the insurance limits of the liable party. For example if you have $100,000 in damages from your accident and the insurance limit is only $50,000 you can only recover up to $50,000.