By GNGF on May 12th, 2023 in
Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Springfield Answer Common Question:
What is My Personal Injury Case Worth in Illinois?
Personal injury accidents can cause serious injuries that result in high medical bills, lost wages, future lost earnings, and significant pain and suffering. Victims and their families facing these unexpected medical bills and losses often ask what is my personal injury case worth in Illinois? Unfortunately, there is no magic formula or certain calculation to determine what your case is worth. That’s because there are many different factors that may apply to your case. Therefore, the first step is always to ask an experienced personal injury lawyer in Springfield for help.
Here at the Noll Law Office, their legal team offers victims and families FREE case evaluations to learn more about their rights and what compensation they may be entitled to under the law. As fifth-generation lawyers, the experienced lawyers at the Noll Law Office are dedicated to the community and the families that live and work here, as well as those that come to Springfield for vacations and entertainment. Unlike other law firms that farm cases out across Illinois, the experienced personal injury lawyers in Springfield handle all their cases at their own office. This means that you can call and speak with someone who is actually working on your case in your community, as opposed to being redirected to a partner who isn’t handling your case or to a new associate across the state. To learn more about how the Noll Law Office can help you, contact them today to set up your FREE case evaluation.
Valuing Your Case: Methods That Don’t Work
There are many bodily injury law firms that promote certain calculators or formulas to value your case. Some may even have a mobile phone app that you plug in certain information to receive a quote for your injuries. Although these are great in concept, unfortunately, these are marketing schemes and not actual ways to calculate the compensation that you may be entitled to under Illinois law.
Specifically, some of the “formulas” that don’t work include the following:
Add Up Your Expenses and Multiply by 3
One common formula is to add up your medical expenses and property damage, and then multiply that by a factor of 3. An example would be if you have $30,000 in medical bills and $1,250 in property damage, your compensation estimate would be $93,750.
However, this formula neglects certain things. Including that medical expenses do not necessarily dictate the value of your case. For instance, a broken pinky finger may need surgery to reconstruct the damage that was done which could medically cost $50,000. However, it is highly unlikely that the fair compensation will be $200,000 for that injury. The same is true of a spinal compression fracture which may require an injection and bedrest, costing only $5,000 in medical expenses, but it is likely worth significantly more than just $20,000.
This formula also neglects the fact that your case has factors like comparative fault or pre-existing injuries, which could all affect the value of your case. To the opposite extent, there could be aggravating factors that warrant punitive damages against a defendant for truly egregious conduct (which is rare, but possible).
Websites that Compare Your Injuries to What Other People Got
Another way that law firms try to attract potential clients is by comparing injuries. They will say that they got $100,000 for a SLAP tear and they can get about that for yours. This is not only inaccurate but also potentially unethical because the ethical rules require lawyers to say that “prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.” Although that disclaimer is often not near the claim.
The truth is that this way of thinking, although a little better in its analysis and somewhat similar to what a court might do, fails to recognize that four people could have a broken arm and all four people could obtain different compensation. That’s because there are other factors that come into play with valuing a case, most of which are not quantified in a calculator or elementary comparison.
Enter Your Info and Then Call Us
Some personal injury law firms will use website calculators or mobile apps that will have you enter your information, including name, address, age, contact information, and your injury. You’ll then have to hit a button to “calculate” which is often just sending your information to the law firm to sign you up. A box will pop up and say something along the lines that your case is worth anywhere between $10,000 and $1 million, and click here to call us for help.
This is not actually any type of calculation, but just a marketing scheme to obtain new clients. Don’t fall for this. Although it is likely true that most personal injury cases will fall between $10,000 and $1 million, that range is incredibly broad for that very purpose.
The Actual Way to Determine Answer Your Question What is My Personal Injury Case Worth in Illinois
Despite all the shortcuts, the only way to truly know what your personal injury case is worth is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Springfield like those at the Noll Law Office. That’s because a case is really valued on what is reasonable compensation under the circumstances. This is an incredibly broad standard that is applied on a case-by-case basis.
Some of the factors that affect this analysis include the following:
- Type of Injury – this is the largest factor as it requires comparing similar injuries together, meaning that courts will compare a broken ankle case to another broken ankle case (not to a less-valuable broken finger case or to a more valuable broken skull case).
- The permanence of the Injury – an injury that results in permanent damage, disability, or other harm is generally worth more than an injury that heals and is nearly back to normal.
- Surgery and the need for future surgeries – cases that require surgery are often worth more than cases that do not require any surgery. In addition, cases that require future surgery are often worth more than cases with just one surgery. Therefore, it is generally true that a case with a hip replacement that needs to be redone/revised every twenty years will be worth more than a case with just one hip surgery, which will be worth more than a case without any hip surgery.
- Age – age plays a factor in the value of an injury too, particularly when it comes to evaluating future pain and suffering. Thus, a 30-year-old victim with permanent injuries will generally have greater pain and suffering than a 70-year-old with similar permanent injuries. This is based on an actuary table and the life expectancy.
- Gender – gender can have a huge role in valuing personal injury cases. The most obvious example is that a significant hip and pelvic injury to a young female could cause reproductive injury or disability while childbearing is likely worth more than a similar hip and pelvic injury to a male. Similarly, a scar on a woman’s face is often considered more valuable than a scar on a man’s face, particularly one that is below the beard line.
- Locality and venue – the location of your case also can affect the price. Generally, cases in rural counties will have a lower value as compared to more urban counties. The reason is largely because the cost of living is higher in urban areas, but also based on the sentiments of people who live there.
- Comparative fault – victims who contributed to the accident or their injuries may have some comparative fault that may reduce the total amount of the recovery by that amount.
- Pre-existing injuries – although not a bar to a case, pre-existing injuries can lower the value of a case.
Each of these factors must be weighed against each other and compared to other cases that had a settlement or a verdict. There is no way that a calculator or formula could capture all of these details accurately, especially because they are fact-based.
Example of How a Court May Value a Case
Courts will weigh these factors in various ways, even if it is a similar injury, to determine a fair and just compensation. They will compare your factors against other settlements or verdicts. For example, take a hypothetical victim who breaks his nondominant hand, no surgery, has a 10% permanent disability and is in his 40s.
In verdict report number one, the plaintiff broke her dominant hand, had surgery, has a 20% permanent disability, and is in her 20s. The victim in our example is likely to have a less valuable case than this plaintiff.
In verdict report number two, the plaintiff broke her nondominant hand, had no surgery, has no permanent disability and is in her 70s. The victim in our example is likely to have a less valuable case than this plaintiff.
Where it can get tricky is where there are mixed results. Such as in settlement report three, the plaintiff broke her dominant hand, injection procedure, has a 5% permanent disability, and is in her 50s. The victim in our example has in his favor a higher permanent disability and at a younger age (meaning longer future pain and suffering), but the victim’s hand was not the dominant hand and did not have any procedure. In addition, this is a “settlement report” which is often less valuable than a verdict report, because a verdict comes after a trial with evidence. Whereas a settlement could indicate factors such as a comparative fault or pre-existing injuries made a trial too risky, and a plaintiff (or defendant) found the settlement to be a better option.
Therefore, as you can see, the only true way to properly value a case is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to weigh these factors.
Injured in an Accident? Call the Noll Law Office and Ask What is My Personal Injury Case Worth in Illinois
Valuing a personal injury case in Illinois can be very complicated. There is no way to just use a calculator, formula, or mobile app to do it. The only way to accurately estimate what your case is worth is to ask an experienced personal injury lawyer in Springfield such as one of ours at the Noll Law Office. The factors that govern what is reasonable compensation are complex and often interwoven. Having an experienced team review your case is the only way to protect your rights to compensation. To learn more about the value of your case and how you can obtain that compensation, contact the Noll Law Office today.