What Is My Georgia Personal Injury Case Worth?

How Personal Injury Cases Are Valued

In a personal injury case, the only right you have is to have 12 jurors from the community tell you what your case is worth.  The insurance company is not required to offer you anything to settle your case.  

Because a jury trial is ultimate way to value your case and the best way to maximize a resolution of the case short of trial, we always discuss the value of personal injury cases through the lens of what a potential jury in the county where it will be tried would likely give our client at trial.

Insurance companies ultimately value personal injury cases based on their view of what a jury is likely to award as well.  This is called their “exposure.”  It is exposure to being forced to compensate you for your injuries by a jury.  

Insurance companies want to avoid being forced by a jury to pay a significant amount of money to you at trial.  Plaintiffs want to avoid the risk that a jury could award them less than what they believe is just compensation for their injuries.   This is ultimately why cases often settle between the parties before trial.Doctor with x-ray picture of patient hand in his surgery examini

But what factors go into valuing your personal injury case, such as one from an auto accident, based on what a jury might do?  Let’s find out.

What Factors Go Into Valuing A Personal Injury Case

   Legal Factors:

When evaluating what a personal injury case is worth, there are several legal factors that make up the true value of a case.  These are the elements of a personal injury case a jury is told to factor in awarding compensation to an injury victim.

1.   Medical Expenses:  The fully amount of all past and future medical expenses associated with your injuries.

2.  Lost Wages/Earning Capacity:    The full amount of all of your past and future lost wages and/or the value of your inability to work at all in the future due to your injuries calculated through the end of your natural working lifetime (lost earning capacity).

3.  Pain and Suffering:  The full value of your past and any future pain and suffering due to your injuries.  This includes how the injuries have affected your daily life and activities that you use to enjoy before your injuries.

The first two categories are much easier to evaluate than the third.  This is because medical expenses and lost wages typically have already been incurred and therefore can be calculated whereas pain and suffering damages are valued subjectively by each juror based on what they think in terms of money your suffering is worth.

Therefore, the only way to evaluate what a jury is likely to award you for your pain and suffering is to lean on the experience of lawyers who have tried similar cases to juries in the past and other factors that affect the outcome of cases at trial.

   Intangible Factors:

In addition to the above legal factors that affect the value of personal injury cases, there are also several intangible factors that affect the value of a case.

1.   Likability:   Believe it or not experience and studies have shown that whether the jury likes the plaintiff plays a big role.  Likewise, if the jury is likely not going to like the defendant or the defendant’s conduct, jurors tend to compensate the plaintiff more.

2.   Venue:   What county your lawsuit is or will be in plays a big role in the value of your case.  Believe it or not experience shows that certain counties in Georgia contain jurors who are more or less likely to significantly compensate injury victims compared to others.  Unfortunately, you cannot often times control where your trial will be held.

3.    The Defendant:   Who the defendant is can play a role in the value of your case.  If you were injured by a corporation, you stand a better chance of receiving just compensation than if an individual injured you.  This is because experience and studies show that jurors are more likely to significantly compensate injury victims when a corporation is going to pay the verdict than when it is an individual defendant.

Hopefully this article helps you better understand the potential value of your case.  As you can see, valuing a personal injury case is not easy and never an exact science.