RI and MA Personal Injury Lawyers: What Is My Case Worth?
“What is my case worth?” is a common question that consumers ask our RI personal injury lawyers and MA personal injury lawyers. Below is a brief overview addressing this question. Of course, the process of determining what your RI or MA personal injury case is worth starts with contacting our firm for free. We are available to discuss your case confidentially and at no cost to you.
What Is My Case Worth?
There are two principles to understand. First, although we are all sometimes uncomfortable talking about money, the truth is that the civil legal system is designed to fairly compensate those who have suffered personal injury. Second, it is equally true that, generally speaking, the civil justice system is only designed to fairly compensate those who have suffered personal injury. This means that neither the most skillful lawyer nor the most compassionate judge can ever undo father time. Those of us in the legal system simply can never replace what you, the injured party, have lost. The law cannot erase permanent physical scars, or miraculously bring someone back to life or out of a wheelchair. Nor can we force the other side to admit they were wrong or to apologize to you. Therefore, we are primarily interested in the business of recovering money damages for you.
Once you understand these two central principles, we can begin to discuss the monetary value of your case. While there are different types of damages available depending on the legal claim at issue, let’s stick with our auto accident example for negligence. If the case proceeds to trial, jurors decide whether to award money damages, and if so, in what amount. Jurors also determine the percentage fault of the parties, which also affects the ultimate award of money to you.
In a negligence claim arising from a car accident, putting aside some differences between Rhode Island and Massachusetts law, you can seek money damages in the following categories:
- Lost Wages
- Gross Reasonable Medical Expenses Related to the Incident
- Pain and Suffering
- Permanent Impairment (including scarring)
Lost wages and medical expenses can usually be readily calculated. However,
predicting what a jury might award you for recovery for pain and suffering and/or any permanent impairment is an imprecise science. Some factors that can affect such an award include the severity of the injury, the length of hospital stay and treatment, your past medical history, your efforts in following your doctors’ instructions, and how the injury has affected your life to date, and in some cases, will affect your life into the future.
Jurors not only determine the amount of damages, if any, to award you, but they also determine the percentage fault of each party in causing your damages. This means that if you have suffered $100,000 in damages and the jury finds that you were partially at fault by 40%, then your gross award will be reduced by 40% to $60,000.
Finally, trial and juries are unpredictable. Therefore, there are some statistics and probability to consider. That is, even under the most favorable facts, no case is a 100% guarantee to result in a plaintiff verdict. Jurors bring their own collective experiences to the process. We have seen differences in personal injury jury awards from county to county. Remember, one side always loses at trial.
Our top rated personal injury law firm and the insurance companies and their lawyers will examine these factors and arrive at a range of what any given jury might award you. This may be considered as the “trial value” of your case.
But most cases do not go to trial. It typically takes at best, over two years (and in many cases much longer), to get to a trial date. And this comes after the litigation process, which includes filing a lawsuit and conducting depositions and other discovery. This process takes time and costs money; money that comes out of your pocket if we win your case (at The Bottaro Law Firm LLC, we offer a “No Fee Guarantee” where we will eat the costs if we do not win).
Thus, both insurance companies and personal injury plaintiffs are generally interested in trying to settle the case before a trial. This is known as the “settlement value” of your case and will necessarily be a compromise between what you might be awarded at trial and the likelihood that you would receive less (or lose) at trial. But to achieve a fair settlement value, you need a lawyer who prepares your case as if it will go to trial, with experience dealing with insurance companies and trying cases to verdict. At our personal injury law firm, we take pride in giving consumers in our Rhode Island and Massachusetts communities personal attention and preparing your case properly for trial, so that when we enter the negotiation process, we can achieve the highest settlement offer possible. Then, the choice to settle your case or proceed to filing a lawsuit and heading towards trial is, and always will be, your choice. We will work with you to analyze the various factors of time and money to consider. And of course, there are some cases where the insurance company will simply not agree to a fair compromise and in that case, our firm will proceed to trial on your behalf.