One of the most frequently asked questions in personal injury law is how much a case is worth. This is a very difficult question to answer, as there is no exact calculation used. Insurance companies, judges, and juries determine values on a case-by-case basis according to the specific details of each particular case. While you can obtain a basic understanding of how the Utah civil courts evaluate injury cases, the best way to receive an accurate estimate is by consulting with a personal injury attorney.
What Determines the Value of Your Case?
The value of your personal injury case is not something you can estimate based on previous cases similar to yours. Every case and client is different. What one person obtained as a settlement in a car accident case may not be indicative of how much your case is worth. Rather than looking at averages, you will need to analyze the factors specific to your unique case that may affect its value.
- Your specific injury diagnosis
- Your prognosis for recovery
- Whether you have a temporary or permanent disability
- Whether you have scarring or disfigurement
- Your age
- Your health prior to the accident
- Your level of income
- The actions of the defendant and the circumstances of the accident
When working toward a personal injury settlement, you will need to prove to the insurance company that you have compensable losses. Use your medical records, hospital bills, pay stubs, letters from your employer and doctor, vehicle repair estimates, experts, and other types of evidence to establish the value of your past and future losses. If the insurance company does not offer as much as you believe your case is worth, an attorney can take the defendant to trial for you instead.
Damages Available in a Utah Personal Injury Case
A personal injury lawyer can help you recover greater compensation for your claim by creating a comprehensive and accurate list of your compensable losses. A lawyer will not forget to seek damages for each loss associated with your accident. There are three main categories of damages available in a Utah personal injury case.
- Economic damages. Economic damages are the bills and costs associated with your accident. They typically refer to past and future medical expenses, physical therapy, surgeries, rehabilitation, medications, lost wages, property repairs, and legal fees.
- Noneconomic damages. A serious injury will affect you more than just physically. It will also have an impact on your mental, emotional, and psychological health. You can seek damages for your emotional distress, physical pain, psychological trauma, and other intangible losses during an injury claim in Utah.
- Punitive damages. In Utah, you may be eligible for punitive damages if you or your lawyer can prove through clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was willful, malicious, reckless, wanton or intentionally fraudulent. Punitive damages punish a defendant by forcing him or her to pay more.
Calculate your economic damages by adding together all of the bills and out-of-pocket costs you have paid as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Your non-economic damages will be more difficult to calculate. A common strategy used by juries is to multiply the total amount of the plaintiff’s economic damages by a number (typically from one to five) that equates to the severity of his or her pain and suffering.
Discuss Your Case’s Value With an Attorney
A settlement or verdict should make you whole again as the injured victim of someone else’s negligence in Utah. On average, a victim with serious to catastrophic personal injuries will recover more money in compensation than someone with a minor injury. The more severe the injury, the more it will impact the victim physically, emotionally, and financially. Before you accept a settlement from an insurance company, discuss the potential value of your case with an attorney. A lawyer will analyze your claim and accurately estimate its worth.