In the same way that no two cases are alike, neither is the worth of a personal injury claim. If you intend to seek damages and wonder, “What is my personal injury claim worth?” The most straightforward answer is, “It depends.”
Several Michigan laws, including the no-fault law and tort threshold law, among others, may significantly impact your personal injury claims. The best way to maximize the value of your claim is to learn how to maximize the value of your facts.
Factors Affecting the Worth of a Personal Injury Claim
It is ideal if you learn some essential factors affecting your claim to improve your chances of receiving full benefits.
Severity of the Injury
While other types of personal injury claims focus on reputational harm, the foundation of most personal injury claims is bodily harm. Thus, when determining the value of your claim, the courts consider the severity and extent of your bodily injury. This factor is straightforward: the severity and permanency of your injury will determine the value of your claim.
Medical expenses can be costly, ranging from hospital bills, physician fees, and other costs to exorbitant surgeries and long-term treatments. As a result, obtaining substantial evidence for your claim from reputable physicians is critical. The more solid your proof and documents of your medical needs are, the more value the courts can add to your lawsuit.
Future Medical Expenses
When your injury necessitates long-term or permanent treatment, it is evident that you will require more money for medical care. Therefore, a claim can demand payments for future medical care. Your disability and its impact on the rest of your life will add value to your lawsuit.
According to Michigan law, you can claim a percentage of your average weekly wage (AWW) that is “fairly proportional” to your injury. Interestingly, there’s no legal limit to the fringe benefits you can add to your AWW. You can add any benefits lost due to the disability as long as the total amount “does not exceed two-thirds of the state’s average weekly wage at the time of the injury.”
Pain and Suffering
In essence, the greater the mental anguish and pain, the greater the claim. But since there’s no formula to measure pain and suffering, Michigan’s tort threshold law sets the standards. To be eligible, your injury must fall into one of three threshold injury categories:
- Permanent and Serious Disfigurement
- Severe Impairment of Body Function
You can also file for punitive or exemplary damages in exceptional cases. Plaintiffs in famous punitive cases in Michigan received additional pain and suffering claims.
Liability and Negligence
Michigan’s comparative fault law makes a significant impact on your claim. If the jury finds you more than 50% responsible for your injury, your compensation will be reduced proportionally.
Methods Used to Determine the Value of a Personal Injury Claim
Insurance Company Calculations
When you search “what is my personal injury claim worth” online, you’ll most likely see a claim calculator or read about the “multiplier method,” commonly used by insurance companies. However, several of Michigan’s specific laws make following a formula or method complicated. Nevertheless, car insurance companies’ calculations adhere to the same factors: severity of the injury, medical treatment, and the permanence of the damage.
Your best bet at coming up with a ballpark figure is from a skilled Grand Haven injury attorney who is an expert with state laws and insurance claims. Your attorney will advise you on which claims you are entitled to, which you must prove, and how much you can expect to recover. Your attorney’s skillful evaluation will play a significant role in litigation or when you decide to settle.
Settlement negotiations with insurance companies can often be tricky, especially if they know you’re unfamiliar with state laws and have no idea of your fair compensation. Their computation for settlement is based on complicated factors, including proof, liability, insurance coverage, etc. Hence, the experience and expertise of your lawyer will be critical in determining a fair settlement value.
Litigation and Trial
If dissatisfied with the other party’s settlement offer, you can file a lawsuit. The trial will likely focus on negligence and liability; a judge or jury will determine damages. The more credible your proof, the more valuable your claim will be. As stated earlier, if you’re at least 50% liable for your injury, your claim decreases in value.
Let Shafer Swartz PLC Calculate It for You
Don’t go to battle unprepared when preparing for a personal injury claim. Your ability to gather proof and understand the law and your lawyer’s persuasive skills will determine your chances of maximizing benefits. Allow our Grand Haven injury attorney to weigh all relevant factors in estimating damages and assist you in receiving the full benefit you deserve. Call us at (231) 722-2444 or contact us here to schedule an appointment.