5 Things That Affect Case Value
There are numerous factors that may affect your personal injury case’s final value at settlement or verdict. The Todd J. Leonard Law Firm has compiled a list of our top five.
What is the level of damages and losses you have suffered?
The award paid for an injury claim is to compensate you for the degree of injuries and losses you have suffered. More serious injuries, especially those with long-term consequences, will pay more. If you have only suffered a minor injury and can recover within a shorter period of time, your settlement will be of lesser value.
What was the level of negligence by the responsible party, and was it egregious?
If a case is tried in civil court, juries can be very angry when it is made clear that the responsible party was criminally negligent, such as in drunk driving cases, when the defendant tried to cover up their knowledge of wrongdoing (such as in a product liability case), or other similar situations. This anger and disgust from the jury can often increase a cash award. If it appears that the injuries were the result of a simple error, less value is usually assigned to the case. Each case is unique and must be fully evaluated.
How much insurance does the responsible party carry to pay for your damages?
Even if you have losses valued in the millions, if the negligent party only carries insurance at $15,000 and has no real liquid assets to speak of, such as bank accounts, you will be limited to the amount accessible through the insurance policy, or $15,000. If the negligent party has a higher level of insurance or has assets that are liquid, it can allow you to recover the full amount of your claim. Our office assesses all available policy limits available to satisfy your claim, including primary, concurrent and excess, or umbrella insurance coverages for the responsible parties.
Where is the lawsuit filed?
A lawsuit is most often filed in the county (venue) in which you were injured, where the defendant resides, or the county that you live in. The jurors will be chosen from the population of the county where the lawsuit is filed. If there is a general cultural dislike for injury claims in your community, jurors are likely to award less; other communities can feel more compassion and award a higher amount than the place of your original filing choice. Our experienced firm can analyze which county is best to bring a claim to on your behalf.
Will the jury feel compassion for you and like you as a person?
The injured victim and the perceived motivation for the lawsuit can impact the outcome of a case with regard to the amount awarded. For example, if the jury believes you are taking advantage of the system, and are therefore not credible, it is likely the value will be less. If you appear to be a likable and honest person with serious injuries, who is just trying to move forward and make the best of their life, it is likely that the value of your award will be higher. Obviously, each case must be evaluated on its own merits.
Contact our New Jersey personal injury lawyers for more information about filing a claim, and the estimated value of your claim. Call (973) 920-7900 today.