How Personal Injury Cases Are Valued
Most people have heard about accident victims who recover large sums of money for their injuries. If you are hurt in an accident, one of the key things you will want to know is how much you may recover.
Estimating a victim’s potential recovery requires evaluating factors courts consider when awarding money for an injury. These include the type of injury, the duration and severity of pain, whether damage is permanent, the cost of medical treatment, the victim’s lost income, and the victim’s emotional suffering.
Once these factors have been evaluated, it’s easier to estimate how much an accident victim may recover. By looking at settlements and jury awards in the community for similar injuries, a lawyer can estimate the amount that might be recovered in another case.
Most accident victims want to know immediately how much they might recover. But an early estimate is sometimes hard to make because many injuries take time to appear. Because the full extent of many injuries is not known for some time, if you are in an accident, do not accept a settlement offer or sign a release before consulting your attorney. There are many cases of accident victims who quickly signed away their rights, only to discover later their injuries were far worse than they originally thought.
Why do recoveries differ? Many people ask why two accident victims with similar injuries receive different amounts of money. One reason is that because so many factors go into valuing an injury, a variation in one factor can cause a big change in the outcome. For example, if the two people earn different amounts of money, their recoveries will not be the same.
Another reason for different size recoveries is different communities. In some areas, juries make smaller awards. Thus, two people can suffer similar injuries, and because they live in different areas, receive different awards.
Valuing an injury can be hard. But with an attorney’s help and by evaluating factors like those discussed here, accident victims can usually make a better estimate of their potential recovery.
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