One of the biggest questions that people in Houston want to have answered before they decide to initiate a personal injury lawsuit is, “How much is my personal injury case worth?” For many, the prospects of a lawsuit and the time involved seem like a hassle unless they will be compensated. The good news is that if you hire a personal injury attorney, they will not only handle all the rigors of the case, but they also typically work on a “contingency basis.”
A “contingency basis” means a lawyer does not charge for the time they invest in a case unless the plaintiff can recover for their injuries and damages. Basically, they only get paid if you do. Since the lawyer would be taking on a lot of financial risk, if you ask if you have a case and they say yes, then it is probably worth pursuing. Once you retain a personal injury lawyer, they pretty much do all the work so that you can focus on healing and getting better.
There is no magic calculation about how much personal injury claims Houston are worth. Since each injury is different, there is no way to know this for sure. As a basic rule of thumb, the more severe the injury, the more you may be entitled to. But since the monetary awards are decided by the court or during negotiation, there is no way to know for sure how much your injury is worth ahead of time.
The types of damages you are entitled to in a personal injury case are called “compensatory damages.” They are meant to compensate someone who was injured due to someone else’s negligence. The idea is that the money is awarded to make someone “whole” again by compensating them for what they have lost due to the accident. Putting a dollar amount on someone’s injuries is not an easy or an objective thing.
There are two types of damages that you are entitled to recover for in a personal injury case: economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages include concrete figures, like how much your medical bills cost and how much money you lost due to lost wages. They can also include the anticipation of any further medical costs you may need according to your diagnosis. This means they would include any later rehabilitation or therapy, and in some instances, being trained to work in a different capacity if you can no longer perform the same occupation due to your injuries.
Noneconomic damages are harder to discern. They include things like pain and suffering and emotional distress. Since putting a dollar amount on how much pain someone has endured is highly subjective, it is up to the lawyer to figure this out. The way that most courts calculate things like emotional distress and pain and suffering is by using a multiplier method. To try to determine how much a person has suffered through, the medical bills are added up, and then they are multiplied by the severity of the accident itself. So the more severely you are injured, the more you will likely be awarded for your noneconomic damages.
In Houston lawsuits where the conduct of the defendant was either excessively malicious or egregious, plaintiffs are entitled to “punitive damages.” These are additional monetary awards meant to hurt someone who acted with intent. Punitive damages are typically given to set an example to the community or to send a message.
Although the calculation of your award is slightly outside of your control, there are things that you can do to further your case. To ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and damages, it is important for you to document things properly. Keep a record of all the treatments and procedures you have endured, along with photos and a journal detailing the hardships you have gone through due to your accident. The more descriptive you can be the more likely you will be awarded what you are entitled to. Also, you do have an obligation to seek medical care. Due to a plaintiff’s obligation to mitigate damages, make sure to make all of your doctor’s appointments, have treatments that will help, and seek care immediately to establish causation.
There is no way to know for sure how much a Houston personal injury case is worth. But in general, the more severely you were injured, the higher you will likely be compensated for your injuries. It is imperative that you hire a personal injury attorney to guide you and make sure you are doing everything necessary to get the compensation you deserve.