May 11, 2015 • Legal Terminology
What is the Value of Your Case?
How do you know, whether your personal injury case is worth $85,000 or $145,000 or even more? Who decides what your case is worth?
Many times when an injured victim goes to a lawyer, he not only wants to know what his case is worth but also wants to know who decides what his case is worth. Well, in a medical malpractice case, accident case, or a wrongful death case, what winds up happening is that as your case proceeds through the litigation process, the lawyers will have an idea and opportunity to understand the true extent of your disabilities or the severity of your injuries.
On the other hand, in a wrongful death case, the lawyer will try to find out economic losses such as lost income, and non-economic losses such as pain and suffering up until the time of death.
Lawyers Try to Determine the Value of your Case
Based on this information, the bottom line is that your lawyer will try to determine the complete value of your case, and so will the defense lawyer. In most personal injury cases, the insurance company will also be involved in determining the worth of your case along with the defense. When the parties involved cannot reach a settlement during the litigation process then ultimately the jury will decide the true value of your case.
Some people believe that the trial judge will make a recommendation to the jury about what the value of your case is. However, this is a fallacy. The judge cannot make a recommendation because he or she is supposed to be impartial, and is not supposed to care about who wins the case. Therefore, the judge is certainly not going to tell the jury what the value of your case is. It is only for the jury to decide.
At the end of the case, your lawyer will certainly explain to the jury, why he believes your case is of a particular value. Your lawyer will go through the different elements germane to the damages and ask the jury to award you a specific amount of money to compensate you for your injuries. The jury is free to award, what you ask for, or less, or more than what you have asked for. On the other hand, the defense will relay to the jury that you are not entitled to anything, and even if you are, the amount should much less than what your side is asking for.
Jury Decides Ultimately
Therefore, ultimately the value of your case is decided by the jury. The defense will try to ameliorate this amount down as far as possible. And if they do not like what the jury has awarded you, or what the trial judge has done with the jury’s decision, then they can appeal the final verdict. So do not celebrate too quickly or too loudly if you receive what you have been asking for!