If someone is injured as a result of someone else’s actions, the person who caused the injury is responsible for compensating the victim. If they do not want to pay, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit to receive the compensation they are owed. One of the first questions that most people have is how much their case is worth. This guide will provide all the information you need to determine what your case might be worth.
Your Financial State
It is important to remember that the goal of any personal injury lawsuit is to return the victim to the financial state he or she was in prior to the injury. You should not expect to get rich off your lawsuit, but rather get compensated with what is rightfully yours. That being said, it is possible to get more money than you spent on medical bills and other injury-related expenses. This is because the victim is compensated for both financial and non-financial losses. To fully understand how this works, you need to understand the different types of damages.
Damages are essentially just things that the court decides need to be compensated by the defendant. There are three types of damages — special compensatory damages, general compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Special compensatory damages are the most straightforward. These damages are for any loss with an exact monetary value, such as hospital bills, lost wages, mobility equipment, or other expenses. Basically, if you can objectively state that an expense cost you exactly $500, or any other amount, then it falls into this category.
General compensatory damages are a little more complicated, as they relate to non-financial losses. If you suffered a painful experience, lost the ability to move on your own, or had some other form of loss, you can still be compensated for it. The judge will decide exactly how much these losses are worth and the defendant will be responsible for compensating you that amount if you win.
Punitive damages are completely different than the other two categories. Rather than being assigned to compensate the victim, they are assigned to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are decided entirely by the judge with no input by either attorney. They are also quite rare in personal injury lawsuits. Unless the defendant acted in an especially irresponsible manner — such as by driving while drunk — punitive damages probably will not be assigned.
So to answer the original question, your case is worth exactly how much you lost financially, plus what a judge will decide non-financial losses are worth, plus a potential punitive amount.
Speak with a personal injury lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer in Naperville, IL, to find out if you might have a case in court.
Thanks to The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into the different kind of damages that can be claimed during a personal injury case.