How do attorneys value your injuries? Your type of injuries and their extent is a critical factor in determining settlement value of your personal injury case. Your attorney will look at the amount of money you have spent on your injuries, known as your medical special damages. These damages are key indicators in the personal injury damage calculations used by the insurance claims adjuster and your attorney.
How Types of Injuries Determine Valuation
Putting a value on someone’s injuries and pain is never easy. However, it is a large part of how the value of your case is determined.
Unfortunately, pain is not specific or scientific. After all, a person suffering from a bone break could experience significant pain, but their injury is temporary and eventually heals. A person with a second or third degree burn, on the other hand, will have pain and suffering for a long time.
Regardless, insurance claims adjusters and attorneys take the type of injury and its associated pain as a starting point.
Hard Injuries versus Soft Tissue Injuries: How Do They Influence Valuation?
Injuries are divided into two categories: Soft tissue and hard injuries. Each of these have different characteristics, including:
- Soft Tissue Injuries: These include sprains and strains, muscle tears, ligament damage, and other soft connective tissue damage. These are not as serious to insurance claims adjusters, and they are typically assigned the lower multiplier when deciding on a settlement amount. Most soft tissue injuries are not permanent, nor do they create long-term suffering. Also, soft tissue injuries are extremely difficult to prove; therefore, if the case went to trial, the plaintiff would have to establish the validity of the injuries.
- Hard Injuries: These are more serious and are easily identified through imaging technology. They receive higher multipliers by insurance companies, and they are uncovered by X-rays, MRIs, CT scans. These can include broken bones, pinched nerves, bulging discs, joint damage, organ damage, etc. A physical repair is needed for this type of injury, from replacement to stitches to bone setting. Hard injuries also include traumatic injuries, like traumatic brain injury.
How an Attorney Plays a Role in Valuing Your Injury Case
Your attorney plays a critical role in determining the value of your injuries. If you have serious injuries that will span over several years, or affect you the rest of your life, he or she will calculate expected medical and care costs for the future to ensure that all your damages are covered.
Also, your attorney will consider your pain and suffering in the long-term, especially if you have severe injuries. Whether you suffer physically or emotionally, these are factors that swing your value higher or lower.
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