This question is, at the same time, the simplest question in a personal injury case and the most difficult to answer. If any case goes to trial 12 times before 12 different juries, you will get 12 different verdicts. Those 12 verdicts will tell you in general terms the highest amount that a jury will give you and the lowest amount. The value of any given case is somewhere in between that high and low.
The factors that will push a case towards the high end or towards the low end are as follows:
- How serious or life changing are the injuries?
- Was surgery required, or will surgery be needed in the future?
- How much are the medical bills?
- Did the accident victim recover fully, or will he or she suffer for years into the future?
- Were the inuries permanently diabling or temporarily disabling?
- How much is the loss of income, both for the past and the future?
- Are there any liability issues that would allow a defendant to shift blame for the accident to the plaintiff or someone else?
- How did the injuries affect the accident victim in his or her daily work and leisure activities?
The answers to these questions will determine whether you have a case worth a few thousand dollars or millions of dollars. Beyond the above issues, there may be questions about the ability of the defendant to pay those damages. Does the defendant have enough insurance or assets to pay the damages? If not, did the plaintiff have insurance coverage in high enough amounts to pay what the defendant cannot pay, such as with uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage?
Every case, every client and every injury producing event is different. Your attorney must seek out the information to answer all of the above questions, and from there he or she can advise you of the potential value of your case.