Posted By: The Ticktin Law Group
What Your Claim is Worth
“If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.”
― Benjamin Franklin
Whenever I sign up a new client, he or she at some point will invariably ask me how much money his or her claim is worth. I always tell them the same thing – there’s no way to know at that point. I say this for of a few reasons. First and foremost, I don’t want to give a number and then ultimately settle the case for far less. This would lead to a disappointed and unhappy client. However, the truth of the matter is, there are quite a few variables which lead to the value of a case. In the very beginning, many of these variables are still unknown and because of that, the final value is still unclear.
As we discuss the value of a claim, what we are really talking about is what an insurance adjustor would be willing to give you in order to settle your claim. Remember, Abraham Lincoln once said, “A good settlement is better than a good lawsuit.” This very often is true because a settlement avoids the costs of litigation which include filing, service, expert fees, deposition fees, mediation fees and many other miscellaneous expenses.
With that said, I now want to draw your attention to what will become your new favorite word: “damages.” The insurance company for the responsible party will pay you (or at the very least should pay you) for your damages. So, what are your damages? In plain speak, your damages are all the ways your life has been affected by the accident. It’s easy to put a dollar amount on some damages, like for instance, your medical bills and property damage. However, it becomes much more difficult to quantify other damages, like your pain and suffering. These things are all called compensatory damages because they are meant to compensate you and make you “whole again.” In my opinion, this is another ridiculous legal phrase because there is no way to truly make a permanently injured person whole again. However, money can make you feel just a tad bit better about all the horrible things you had to go through.
So, we have now mentioned medical bills, property damage (like car repairs or a broken cell phone) and pain and suffering as common forms of damages. There are other types of damages that you may want to be mindful of in your case too. Perhaps you had to take time off of work because you were incapacitated or had to go to doctor appointments. That loss of income is also a type of damage. Maybe you had a vacation planned but were unable to go. That loss of a social experience is also a type of damage. If you are in school and missed classes or tests, that would be loss of educational experiences damages. If you are married and couldn’t be a normally supportive spouse with things like cooking, cleaning and helping out, that would constitute loss of family experiences damages.
You may have heard the phrase “loss of consortium.” In essence, this is the claim your spouse would have against the wrongdoer for hurting you. This generally refers to all of those things we just mentioned with family experiences damages. Loss of Consortium also includes sex and companionship too. It is extremely difficult to get an insurance adjustor to settle with your spouse for loss of consortium damages. Typically, this only comes into play after litigation is filed and the question is posed to the jury.
Another commonly pled type of damage is emotional damages. This includes stress, anxiety, depression, nightmares, etc. It is much more difficult to claim emotional damages because it is extremely hard to prove. If you made mention of any of these problems to any of your doctors and they documented it, then it becomes much easier to use.
There are also damages which include the need for future medical care. Let’s say for instance that you hurt your back in a car accident and suffer from herniated disks. It is very probable that you will continue to suffer from that injury for the rest of your life. It won’t be constant, but chances are you will need chiropractic or orthopedic care sporadically in the years to come. A projection of what those medical appointments and prescriptions will cost you should go into your compilation of damages.
Now that you know what the different types of damages are, it becomes a little easier to determine what your case is worth. You add up all the types of damages, throw in a number for pain and suffering and loss of experiences and determine what your damages will be in the future. A lot of these figures are subjective and so will vary between people. However, you will at least have a general idea of how you should value your case.
Remember, the best thing you can do is to call the Ticktin Law Group at (954) 570-6757 as soon as possible. By speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer and going over all the facts of your particular claim, you will get a much better idea of what steps you should already be taking, what kind of insurance you have and what compensation you may be entitled to.