Handling your Georgia Personal Injury Claim – A Complete Guide Part 4

  • What is my car accident or other injury case worth?

Q: How do you determine the range of value for an Injury Case?

A: When determining the value of a case we start with looking at what the law allows recovery for. In most cases, the law only allows recovery for compensatory damages. That is damages that are designed to compensate the victims for their injuries. Compensatory damages are basically divided into two broad categories of damages. The first being economic damages. These consist of the reasonable value of the medical expenses, plus any loss of income that arises from the injury. For example, if someone had ten thousand dollars in medical expenses, and five thousand dollars in lost wages, they could expect to recover fifteen thousand dollars. These are easy to add up… it is simple math. Then there are economic damages that are much harder to assess. One item falling under this category is future medical expenses. This number can sometimes be subjective, and is based upon the testimony of the client’s physician. Future loss of income also falls under the category of economic damages. This can also be subjective, as it is very difficult to determine what someone’s earning capacity might have been, several years into the future. Might your eighth grade son have become a professional football player had he not suffered a shattered hip? If you had not been injured, might you have worked until you were 68? Or might you have been retired by 60 years of age? Might your college-aged daughter gone on to medical school, and become a heart surgeon, had she not sustained a brain injury? We recently brought in a client who has had half of her face destroyed because of a bad cosmetic filler injection by an unqualified physician. She was a model. Determining and proving her future earning potential has now become part of our job.

In addition to economic damages, the law also allows for non-economic damages. This includes things like pain and suffering, permanent disability, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. The value of non-economic damages is usually related to the extent and duration of the injury, as well as what you have to go through to treat the injury. For example, a case resulting in a broken bone will have a higher value than one involving a sprain. Or a case requiring surgery is going to have a higher value than one requiring only physical therapy. A case where the injury is permanent, obviously will be valued higher than one in which the injury is temporary and eventually resolves. So at the end of the day, the overall value of the case is determined by the nature of the injury, the extent of the injury and the duration of the injury. There is no real formula for making this determination. Experienced personal injury lawyers can assess this value, based upon their knowledge and prior experience.

  • How do I know if my Lawyer is actually working on my case?

Q: How do you keep your clients apprised of what is going on during the case handling process?

A: At the beginning of the process, we provide our clients with a letter that outlines our case handling process in some detail. Our clients are copied on all correspondence that leaves our office. In other words, if we are sending letters to insurance companies, doctors or hospitals, they are getting copies of them in the mail. So the client can stay informed, simply by receiving that information. Likewise, when we receive mail from lawyers, doctors or hospitals that is important to the case, we contact the client, and/or send the client a copy of that correspondence. In addition, we always encourage or clients to contact us if they have any questions. My clients have my office number, email and cell phone number, and fax number, so there are multiple ways to reach me. We try to get back to our clients within twenty-four hours. If I am not available, my paralegal can handle most questions regarding day to day activities.

Part V - Continued