New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

How to Value the Extent and Nature of Your Injuries in a Personal Injury Case

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 in Legal Terminology

The type and extent of the injury that a person suffers in an accident is the main factor that affects an injury settlement. The money that a person has spent assessing and having their injuries treated are referred to as “medical special damages” or “specials.” These damages are a key indicator assessing the value of the extent and nature of your injuries in a personal injury case.

Types of Injuries and their Valuations

Personal Injury

Physical injuries can be measured, but it is extremely difficult to measure psychological injuries.

Putting a value on pain and suffering is the most difficult part of figuring out compensation for a person who has been injured in an accident. This is the main part of what the damages formula tried to do. Common reasoning therefore says that the more painful the injury, the higher the number that becomes added to the formula. Insurance companies look at pain and suffering by connecting different types of injuries with levels of pain.

This may not be a very scientific approach. For instance, a sprained back can be more painful than a broken bone, at times. Despite that, insurance adjusters use the type of injury as a starting point to decide the numbers that need to go into the formula.

Soft Tissue and Hard Injuries

Insurance adjusters usually divide injuries into two main categories:

  • Soft tissue injury, the major evidence of which is the description of discomfort that the patient claims
  • Hard injury, which is an injury that can be detected specifically through a medical examination.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Injuries such as a strained or sprained neck, back, ankle or knee are referred to as soft tissue injuries. This is because they only pertain to muscles and other soft connective tissue. These injuries are regarded as less serious than hard injuries by insurance companies and usually assign to them a low damages formula.

This is because, according to insurers, regardless of how painful they may be, soft tissue injuries are not dangerous or permanent. They know that if a personal injury claim ever went to court, clearly proving what the soft tissue injuries were, would be extremely difficult for an injured person.

Hard Injuries

Hard injuries are considered more serious in nature as compared to soft tissue injuries. Therefore, they are awarded higher monetary damages. The value of a personal injury claim for damages goes up if a person can identify anything in their medical records that has been observed by tests such as X-rays or a doctor, as something other than a sprain or strain.

The value of a personal injury case would increase regardless of all other considerations, if an injury required any intrusive examination by a doctor, or a physical repair. This could refer to setting a bone, stitching a wound, or an arthroscopic examination of a joint. There are different categories of hard injuries. These are:

  • Broken bones
  • Wounds
  • Head injuries
  • Dislocations, separations, and cartilage or ligament tears
  • Vertebrae or spinal disk injury

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