One of the most common questions our personal injury lawyers get is: “how much is my personal injury claim worth?” It’s difficult to answer this question without looking at all of the details of your case, simply because there are so many factors which can impact the answer.
Here are some of the factors your lawyer will be thinking about as they seek to negotiate your settlement. If the case goes to court, these will also be the factors that judges and juries will be considering.
#1) Your own behavior during the accident.
Alberta is a contributory negligence province. This means you may be found to be at least partially at fault for your accident. This doesn’t mean you can’t bring a personal injury case at all, but it does impact the value of your claim.
The amount of impact will depend on the degree of fault assigned to you either in your settlement or via the courts. If you are found to be 10% at fault then your settlement will be reduced by exactly that amount: 10%.
Obviously the defendant’s lawyers are going to push hard to increase this figure. Your lawyer will have to work hard to defend your conduct while showcasing the defendant’s negligence.
#2) The severity of your injuries.
Obviously we hope your injuries are not very severe, because we don’t want you to live with a lifetime of pain and disability. Few people would choose traumatic brain or spinal injuries, for example, just to get a big personal injury payout.
Yet the severity of your injuries does have a direct impact on your case. Your medical bills will play a big role in the value of the case.
#3) The impact your injuries have had on your life.
We generally don’t start negotiating your settlement until you’ve reached what’s called “Maximum Medical Improvement.” This means that your injuries are as healed as they’re going to get.
For some people, this will mean being fully healed, fully ready to return to work, fully ready to take up household duties again, and fully able to pursue hobbies.
Others will never live the same way again. The impact the injuries have on your future can have a big impact on pain and suffering awards in particular.
#4) Future costs.
Your personal injury settlement takes two types of future costs into account.
The first is the cost of your future care. This must be estimated, but we can generally make some guesses based on the nature of your injury, the results of your treatment, and your doctor’s opinions.
The second is whether or not you can work in the future. If you’ve lost your ability to earn a living your personal injury settlement should account for that.
#5) Your lawyer’s skill and experience.
92% of personal injury cases ride on a lawyer’s negotiation skills. They settle out of court. A timid or inexperienced lawyer can leave a lot of money on the table, to your ultimate detriment.
The other 8% rely on your lawyer’s skill as a litigator. Lawyers who don’t enjoy the courtroom process or prepare for it can also have a detrimental impact on the case.
Get a lawyer who excels at both types of cases. A number of our team members have 30+ years of experience in this field, and can help you maximize your settlement. Call us for your free consultation today.