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The value of each case is different. In every case, one measurement of value is the amount of medical expense incurred and the likely amount of medical expenses to occur in the future. Many cases have a lost wage or loss of earning capacity (the inability to earn as much in the future) component which has to be substantiated by tax returns and/or expert testimony in the future. Juries in Florida can award any amount for pain and suffering in the past and future, but largely consider the amount of the actual damages (the medical bills and lost wages) in determining an amount to award for pain and suffering. While pain and suffering is usually the most significant to the injured person, actual damages are easier to prove. It is unusual for a case with low actual damages to bring forth large number in the pain and suffering category, except in unusual circumstances.
There are many factors that affect the value of your case. For example, an accident that causes a scar on an old man’s face has an entirely different value than the same accident that causes a scar on young woman’s face, or an accident that causes an injury to a brain surgeon’s hands has significantly more value than the same injury to a sales clerk. The differences in these cases have to do with the injured person’s physical impairment, pain/suffering and economic losses. In any case, the more your are impaired from the accident, meaning the more the injury interferes with your ability to function as you did before the accident, the more value it has for your case. If you now need help with chores or actually need to hire an assistant, they will increase the value of your case. Obviously, how much pain/suffering an you experience will increase the value of your case. General discomfort does not have as much value as significant pain. It is important to the value of your case that your pain be verifiable, meaning the medical treatment and circumstances support your complaints of pain. Medical procedures, rehabilitation and obvious injuries all go towards supporting you complaints of pain and, as a result, increase the value of your case. Finally, the amount of money spent in medical bills or lost because of work missed increases the value of your case. These figures are easier to calculate because the doctor’s bills and missed time from work are simply added together. Economic damages, as well as pain/suffering and impairments, are considered for the past, meaning from the accident to the present, and for the future. Depending upon the circumstances, a case may not have much value in the past, but may have significant value in the future.
I often tell my clients ”what is good for the value of your case, is bad for you.” In other words, what makes a case valuable are the types of things that cause you pain, suffering, impairment and economic loss. Most people would rather have a health and wellness than a valuable case. So, if you see any advertisements of a smiling client touting he received a million dollars for his accident, you now know that the client must have suffered some truly significant injuries and that the client’s smiling face conceals life-changing injuries he suffered as a result of his accident.
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