Step Four in Civil Case: Value of Case

Determining the value of a given case is no easy feat. A variety of factors come into play in trying to figure out how much money is sufficient to compensate a person for injuries and pain and suffering. Most folks don’t want to ever experience pain, especially severe pain brought about by broken bones, deep lacerations, disc herniations and the like. If someone were to offer you money in exchange for you suffering a broken leg, how much would be enough to convince you to do it?

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FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN VALUING CASE

While the level and duration of the pain experienced by a plaintiff certainly weighs heavily into the consideration of the value of a case, other factors play a part as well. If the injury caused permanent damage, then obviously the value of the case increases. Where you have permanent damage, the age of the injured party plays a role in determining value. If he’s in his 20’s and suffers a permanent injury, then he likely is facing 50+ years of pain and suffering according to most mortality tables which estimate life expectancies. If he’s in his 70’s then obviously there is not nearly as many years left for him to experience pain.

 

Another factor that must be considered is the strength of the case. Where there are viable defenses to the case or there is some evidence that the plaintiff (injured party) bears some responsibility for the incident that caused the injury then the value of the case decreases. Likewise, the venue (the county where the case must be brought) can also factor into the decision. Some counties have a reputation for returning large plaintiff’s verdicts while others are notorious for either very low verdicts or defense verdicts. Generally, the more conservative the venue the lower the verdicts tend to be. This is certainly not a hard and fast rule but it definitely bears upon the plaintiff’s lawyer’s consideration of the value of a case.

 VALUE OF RECENT SLIP AND FALL CASE

I recently had a case in which a woman in her 60’s missed a step at a bed and breakfast and suffered a debilitating shoulder injury. Pins and rods were surgically implanted to help heal the break and later had to be removed in order to give her better range of motion and less pain. Even after the second surgery, my client had a significant loss of range of motion and still experienced pain. The surgeon indicated that her best option in the future was shoulder replacement surgery. Obviously, we had great value in terms of her damages and pain and suffering but we had certain obstacles to overcome. First, my client was in her mid 60’s which meant not many years left for calculating damages. Second, the bed and breakfast had the defense that no one else had fallen in the manner she had, which indicated that perhaps she simply wasn’t paying close enough attention while walking. Third, and most critically, we were in a rural mountain jurisdiction that was notorious for returning defense verdicts. Also, the owner of the bed and breakfast was well-known and well-liked throughout the community. Despite those significant issues, I was able to negotiate a $400,000 settlement for my client.

 CALL IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED

If you’ve been injured, please give me a call at 404-474-2531 for a free and confidential consultation.

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