An important question indeed.

When someone is injured in an accident they suffer a variety of losses; lost income, property damages, pain and suffering from their injuries, and often permanent physical limitations.  They are therefore concerned about what they can expect back from their case.  The simple answer to this question is “it depends.”  This isn’t what a client wants to hear, but at the beginning of a case it is not usually clear what we can do with a particular case. The ultimate answer to this question depends on three issues: the extent of your injuries, the strength of the liability claim against the person who caused your injury, and the amount of insurance available through the defendant’s insurance carrier.

Liability and Case Value

We must consider first the strength of the liability claim against the defendant. If no one can be held legally responsible for your injuries, the case has no value no matter how badly you’ve been injured.  Suppose for example you are in a car accident in Aliquippa. You suffer severe injuries in the accident but there is no clear fault on the part of another person. Maybe you caused the car accident, maybe the other driver did. If an insurance company has an arguable case that their client was not at fault for the car accident, they will not be interested in paying significant damages for your injuries because they will have a chance of winning the case in court. Suppose instead that you are injured in a  rear end impact car accident while legally stopped at a red light. In this case, the liability is clear and the measure of your damages will not be affected by a dispute over liability.

Contact attorney Matvey at 724-709-7958

Injuries and Case Value

The second issue to consider when determining how much your case is worth is the extent of your injuries. Suppose you are injured in a fall down accident and you go to the hospital. After you visit the emergency room you don’t need any further treatment. Your case is going be be small because your injuries are not too bad. The greater the injury, the greater the likelihood of a significant settlement or verdict. Damages in wrongful death claims are significant because of the loss of life, the loss to the family, and the loss of income for the family.  Physical injuries are commonly what claims are based on for injury cases.  In some instances, mental anguish, referred to in law as “emotional distress,” can also be a component of a claim.

Lost Income, Medical Bills, and Case Value

Loss of income and medical bills also have a significant effect on the value of your case.  If you can present to a jury a evidence of a large loss of income or medical bills, the jury will likely consider these amounts in determining a damage award. Where a just has no information on financial losses, they are determining a pain and  suffering award with absolutely no guidance as to what your case is worth and there is therefore a risk of a low verdict.

Scars and Case Value

Another issue that can greatly affect the value of the case is scarring.  In the event of a dog bite the victim may be left with a significant and permanent scar. The impact on a person’s self image of the scar can be significant and therefore can greatly affect the value of the case. Long lasting injuries and injuries that require surgical repair also increase the likelihood of a significant settlement or verdict because they tend to be seen as more significant injuries by a jury and because the surgery will leave a scar.

Insurance and Case Value

A critical issue is the amount of insurance available. If you sustain a significant injury but the defendant has only limited insurance, the value of your case will be limited by the amount of insurance available. In Pennsylvania, people are required to have a minimum of only $15,000.00 in liability coverage. In the event of a wrongful death event, this coverage will obviously be insufficient to cover the loss of life and there may be no more money available through insurance or through a direct claim against the defendant driver.

If the defendant is uninsured and you have no coverage of your own to cover the losses you sustained, you may recover nothing at all for your losses.  It is an unfortunate fact of life that not everyone is responsible, not everyone buys a sufficient amount of insurance, and it is possible that there may be no recourse for you to pursue in the event of an injury.

There are many issues we must address in determining the value of your case. It is best that we meet in person and discuss the case and work on the case together to obtain the best results for you.  Feel free to call me should you need the advice of an attorney on your accident case.

Need a free consultation to discuss the value of your case?

Contact Attorney Matvey today at 724-709-7958 to discuss your accident case.