Understanding Lawsuit Compensation: How is my Personal Injury Case Valued? New York City Personal Injury Lawyer Explains with a Queens Car Accident Case
We have all heard about massive verdicts on TV, including the hot coffee case against McDonalds. Some victims of personal injuries are receiving millions and millions of dollars for their personal injuries. But we also hear on TV, see in the newspaper, or know people who may have had a very serious case and they may not have gotten any money—or not millions and millions of dollars. An injured person may ask how can this be and how is my personal injury case valued? Our New York City personal injury lawyer knows this is an important question for a victim and his or her family, especially when medical bills are piling up and lost wages are significant.
Our goal at Cohen and Cohen Law Group, P.C. is to always help victims who have been seriously injured in any type of personal injury action in Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Long Island, or anywhere in New York. Our experienced personal injury lawyers stand ready to help victims and their families recover the compensation they need for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost future earnings, property damage, loss of consortium, and other damages related to a personal injury case. Often times one of the first and most important questions a client will ask us is how is my personal injury case valued? We work through a Queens car accident case to show you how it could potentially be valued.
Understanding Case Value: There is No Formula
Yes, let’s come right out and say there is no formula for a personal injury case. It is an unfortunate truth that the only way to predict the value of a case is to evaluate a case and do heavy research. It helps when that evaluation is done by an experienced New York City personal injury lawyer such as ours, as we are able to fight to ensure a victim recovers the compensation that he or she deserves.
Evaluating Your Claim
The first step is to really evaluate your claim. What a case is worth really depends on the strength of your legal claim at the start. This includes looking at these basic facts:
- What are your medical bills? These can be reimbursed
- Do you need future surgeries or treatment? That can be paid for
- What are your lost wages? That can be paid for
- Are you married or have children? They may have a claim for loss of consortium
- Could you have been at fault for your Queens car accident? That may lower your claim
- Did an uncontrollable factor like weather cause your accident? That could lower your claim by adding comparative fault if you were not careful
- Are you retired or not working? That could lower your lost wage claim
- Do you have permanent damages? That could increase your claim
- Do you support another person? That could increase your claim
- How painful are your injuries; broken bones and surgeries, or sprains and strains?
- How long did you stay at the hospital?
- How old are you? Age affects the future damages claim because a life expectancy is longer for a younger person, but an older person is more likely to be supporting others
- Is the case difficult such as a questionable and unavoidable accident, or was the other party very negligence or at fault?
- And many other important factors.
Looking at Other Verdicts, Settlements, and Awards
Now that we have some baseline information, we can compare your case to other cases. This is done by several ways. Most importantly, it is necessary to understand that the value of a case is based on what others have received for the case within New York. A claim in New York City for a Queens car accident with a broken bone will be worth more than a claim in upstate Malone, New York for the same broken bone. That is because of the “going rate” of an injury, which is what a jury in that locality is paying for the claim.
To assess this going rate, it is important to look for verdicts and settlements in your locality. New York is also broken up into four “department” or regions. For Queens car accidents, you want to look at First Department cases or Second Department cases which all have similar compensation. To do this, looking up the reasonable compensation that other victims received under the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) section 5501 (c) is how the appellate courts look up what other victims received to assess whether it was “reasonable compensation.” Often times the appellate division will than analyze the factors and make a decision what reasonable compensation should be, otherwise a new trial should occur. You would compare their age, injuries, costs, and other factors mentioned above to your case. You would look for similar cases and compare them to get an average cost. This is a more technical and advanced way to do this.
Another way would be looking up settlements and verdicts. You would assess what the victim got in those cases, and again compare them to your injuries. These settlements and verdicts are important, but they are not as strong as an appellate division review under CPLR section 5501 (c) because the appellate division is a more authoritative court. Moreover, the settlements could vary on factors that you may not know. But these are all still very important and can be useful in negotiating.
So What is My Case Worth? Ask us for Free!
If you have been seriously injured in a Queens car accident or any other type of bodily injury accident in New York City, call our experienced New York City personal injury lawyers at the Queens car accident law firm of Cohen and Cohen Law Group, P.C. to learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation under New York law by dialing 800-247-8164 or using our convenient and easy-to-use contact us box available here. We offer FREE case evaluations and can help answer your questions about your case.