One of the first questions I am often asked by prospective clients is, “how much is my case worth”? The classic lawyer answer is, “well, it depends.” That answer is as true as it is trite. But there are some common indicators that attorneys and insurance claims adjusters use in determining the average value of a personal injury case.
No one can predict the value of a personal injury case because of the number of variables involved. However, there is general consensus as to the value of most cases personal injury attorneys see: motor vehicle collisions with non-life threatening/significantly disabling injuries and admitted liability.
It is usually thought that such cases are worth between two to five times the amount of “special damages” the claimant sustained. Special damages usually consist of medical expenses and lost wages. Where a case falls within that range is dependent on a number of factors, including the nature of the injuries, the effect of the injury on the person’s daily life, the insurance company defending the claim and the skill of the plaintiff’s lawyer.
Of course each case is unique; some cases are settled or tried where the plaintiff receives more or less. There is no magic formula and the facts of each case–most importantly, the kind of injuries sustained–are clearly crucial in determining value. But this range is the product of experience based on settlements in similar cases and reported jury verdicts.