Asking “How much is my case worth?” is the first step toward getting the best result.
Have you been asking yourself “How much is my case worth?” This is an important question. Almost everybody pursuing a legal action asks this question at some point. When deciding whether to settle your case or go to trial, you should have an understanding and perspective about the risks and possible outcomes in your case.
If you are looking for a simple answer, you will not find one. Importantly, many factors go into valuing your case. Some depend on the law, others are driven by your lawyer’s experience in cases similar to yours.
Settlement value calculator
Because you are interested in knowing your case value, you may be looking for a case settlement calculator or settlement value calculator online. But did you know these calculators are often inaccurate and misleading? Therefore, case settlement calculators cannot help you.
In addition, when asking “How much is my case worth?“ many websites will say they have a magical case settlement calculator or settlement value calculator. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So, BEWARE! Settlement value calculators are not realistic or accurate! There is simply no single tool or program that can tell you the exact value of your case.
Only a licensed attorney can review the facts of your case and estimate your case value. In addition to being licensed, your lawyer should have a great deal of experience in the corresponding area of law. For these reasons, it’s important that you hire a qualified lawyer from the beginning.
To start the conversation, contact Kitay Law Offices online or at 888-KITAYLAW for a free consultation. We can help review the specific facts of your case, and provide you a more realistic view of the potential outcomes.
Settlement and litigation statistics
As a starting point when asking “How much is my case worth?” understand that your case is one of thousands across the country that are going on right now. Each state, as well as the federal government, has its own court system to resolve legal disputes. While official government data is a little outdated today, it is still informative.
As recently as 2005, the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, estimates that over 26,000 civil trials occur in state courts each year. Amazingly, Plaintiffs won only 58.7% of the time. When plaintiffs won, the median award amounted to $30,500.00.
What are my chances of winning my case?
We can dive deeper into this data, as well. When looking at trials only related to torts (read more about personal injury matters here), plaintiffs won only 52% of the time. Within those cases where plaintiffs won, we can break them down into specific types of cases:
- Motor vehicle accidents – Plaintiffs won 64% of the time
- Employment discrimination – Plaintiffs won 61% of the time
- Product liability – Plaintiffs won 55% of the time
- Medical malpractice – Plaintiffs won only 23% of the time
Pause for a moment and take all of that in because THIS IS BIG. While you are more likely to win than lose if your case goes to a trial, you still have a high risk of losing. Why? Because no matter how great your case is, nobody can predict what a judge or jury will decide. For this reason, it is important to balance the risks and benefits of going to trial when asking “How much is my case worth?”
In fact, between 95-96% of personal injury cases settle before a trial. To learn more about how the risks and benefits of going to trial affect the value of your case, contact Kitay Law Offices online or at 888-KITAYLAW for a free consultation!
What is the average case worth?
Interestingly, industry-wide publications provide us with lots of data about the value of different case types. The Insurance Information Institute recently published their 2019 Insurance Fact Book. Here is some interesting information we can gather to help answer the question “How much is my case worth?”
In 2017, auto insurance companies paid out over $105 billion to resolve liability claims for injuries related to both private passenger cars and commercial automobiles. The average amount paid out on a liability claim for injuries was $15,270.00 during that same year. This data is very recent and carries a lot of weight.
Another consideration, however, is that not all drivers carry insurance to pay for your injuries. As of 2015, about 13% of all motorists were uninsured. Pennsylvania does a little better than the nation as a whole. Here, you have a 7.6% chance of encountering an uninsured driver on our roads. If you are struck by an uninsured driver, you will need to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage on your own auto policy to ensure you can be compensated for your injuries.
Millions of work injuries occurred throughout the United States in 2016. Sadly, this also included over 4,000 deaths. Also, over 89% of all United States work injuries in 2016 affected workers in the following industries:
- Healthcare and social assistance
- Retail trade
- Accommodation and food services
- Transportation and warehousing
- Wholesale trade
- Administrative and waste services
- Professional and technical services
- Miscellaneous services
But what about the money? As we have already discussed, using a settlement value calculator is not helpful. While each state has its own workers’ compensation laws, they virtually all provide two types of benefits. These include: (1) indemnity benefits (wage loss payment to help cover the money you are missing while out of work for your injury); and (2) payment of medical bills for treatment related to your work injury. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company typically pays each of these benefits.
Amazingly, workers’ compensation insurance companies paid out about $62 billion in claims throughout the United States in 2017. These payments were split almost evenly between medical and wage loss payments. In Pennsylvania alone, over 173,000 work injuries occurred in 2018 which caused the worker to miss time from work. That same year, workers’ compensation insurance companies in Pennsylvania paid out over $2.8 billion in claims. As a result, Pennsylvania insurance companies paid out over $16,000.00 in combined wage loss benefits and medical expenses for the average case in 2018.
Employment Law Violations
In November 2019, a popular legal industry website conducted a survey of its visitors. The survey asked its visitors about the results of their wrongful termination lawsuits. Importantly, the data included both cases that settled and those that went to a jury verdict. Here are some important conclusions:
- 54% of plaintiffs received $20,000.00 or less in compensation
- Only 7% of plaintiffs received more than $100,000.00 from their lawsuit
- Plaintiffs who had retained a lawyer to represent them received about 150% more than those who handled their own case without a lawyer
- Negotiating the settlement amount lead to a higher overall settlement value 80% of the time. This is as opposed to agreeing to settle for the amount of the first offer.
- The employer’s size is very important. The average settlement amount was nearly twice as high coming from employers who had more than 100 employees. This is as opposed to employers who have 100 or fewer employees.
As you can see, there is no easy answer to the question “How much is my case worth?” Without even discussing the facts of your specific case, the data we have gathered here shows that each case involves a wide variety of risks and possibilities. Further, several factors throughout the economy as a whole impact the value of your case.
An experienced lawyer will be able to discuss how your case fits into this very big picture. To learn more, contact Kitay Law Offices for a free consultation today! We are ready to help. You can reach us online or at 888-KITAYLAW.
How much is my case worth?
An experienced lawyer can review the facts of your case and give you a good idea of the potential outcomes. Importantly, this analysis should take into account industry-wide factors, the unique circumstances of your case, and the law itself.
At Kitay Law Offices, we review each case individually with our clients. Here are some of the most important factors that impact the value of your case:
Personal Injury & Car Accident Cases
How clear is it that the other party is at fault? If it is 100% clear, that’s great! On the other hand, did you somehow contribute to this incident occurring? If so, we need to think a little harder.
In some states, the law prevents you from recovering anything for your case if you were even 1% at-fault. Pennsylvania, however, provides some more flexibility. So long as you are no more than 50% responsible for the accident occurring, you can still recover. Unfortunately, the amount of your compensation must be reduced by your percentage of fault. This is an important discussion to have with your lawyer.
Even before your case goes into the court system, it is important to think about where your case would be litigated. The specific court where your case would be heard is called the “venue.” Importantly, some venues have a reputation for being more plaintiff-friendly than others. If your venue has a reputation for being conservative in their jury awards, however, you must take that into account when asking “How much is my case worth?”
Available Insurance Coverage
Believe it or not, the insurance policy limits are a major factor in the value of your case. If the defendant’s insurance policy is large, your lawyer should be able to work out fair compensation for your injuries. In some cases, however, you may have damages that are much greater than the limits of the insurance coverage that is available. If this occurs, the practical result in most cases is that you will never receive more compensation than the limits of the insurance coverage.
Another important consideration is that sometimes the at-fault party does not have insurance to cover your damages. For example, we provided statistics earlier showing the percentage of uninsured drivers on our roads. Even if you were to obtain a large judgment against that defendant, you may never be able to collect the money since most people don’t have large piles of cash sitting around waiting to pay out claims. This, again, is why it is so important to carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage on your car insurance policy. Any settlement value calculator you find online is unlikely to take this factor into account.
Your Rights to Recover
Long story short, Pennsylvania law regarding car insurance is very confusing. In many cases, your rights to recover damages in a car accident are determined by whether you have selected “Full Tort” or “Limited Tort” on your own car insurance policy. Importantly, this is true even though the other driver was at fault. We have written extensively about the differences between Full Tort and Limited Tort in Pennsylvania. But if you were a pedestrian or riding your bicycle at the time of the accident, you automatically have the right to recover “Full Tort” damages. Importantly, this is also true if you were riding your motorcycle at the time of the accident.
If you can afford a slightly higher insurance premium, ALWAYS CHOOSE FULL TORT on your car insurance policy. If you do, you will be happier with the answer to your question: “How much is my case worth?”
Amount of Damages
In Pennsylvania, the law classifies your damages into either “Economic” or “Non-economic” categories. You can think of Economic damages as things that can be itemized almost as if they were put onto a receipt. Importantly, this can include damages such as:
- lost wages
- reduced future earning capacity
- damage to property
- outstanding medical bills
- medical liens
- future medical treatment costs
You can think of Non-economic damages as being more squishy. In other words, the value of your Non-economic damages is more open to interpretation. This is where your lawyer can really show the value of your case. These damages can include categories such as:
- loss of enjoyment of life
- mental anguish
The more severe your injuries are, the more valuable your Non-economic damages may be. And remember, these factors are different in every single case. Plus, the value of these damages is heavily influenced by the other factors we have already mentioned. A settlement value calculator you may find online cannot accurately take these elements into account. To find out how these factors may impact the value of your case, contact Kitay Law Offices online or at 888-KITAYLAW for a free consultation!
Workers’ Compensation Cases
Is your claim accepted or denied?
When asking “How much is my case worth?” it is important to first know whether your claim is accepted or denied. Believe it or not, the law gives your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company lots of power when you suffer a work injury. Importantly, they have the right to accept or deny your claim within the first few weeks after you report your injury. And even if your claim is accepted, the law also provides the insurance company a way to still deny your claim within 90 days.
If your claim is denied and you have to fight for your benefits in court, the value of your case may suffer. This is because you, as the injured worker, have the burden to prove your case to the judge if your claim was initially denied. On the other hand, if your claim has been accepted and you have been receiving wage loss payments while out of work, the value of your case is likely higher. Usually, this is because it becomes your employer’s burden to prove why your benefits should stop.
Ongoing wage loss v. closed period
The length of time that you have missed from work can have a significant impact on the value of your case. Here are some situations where this part of the analysis may apply:
Short Closed Period
You missed a short period of time from work and then returned to work making the same amount as you did before your injury occurred. Since your period of lost wages is not long, the value of your case is likely lower. Plus, if you are back to doing your normal work, it likely means that you are not receiving a lot of expensive medical treatment. This is very important to understand when asking “How much is my case worth?”
Long Closed Period
Maybe you underwent surgery and missed several months from work. After recovering, you may be able to return back to your normal job and normal hours. In this case, your case is likely worth more than the Short Closed Period because you may have a greater chance of re-injuring yourself and missing more time from work in the future.
Return to Work with Ongoing Wage Loss
Here, you have returned to work but are working less hours and making less money than before your injury. Most likely, this is due to some kind of light-duty work restrictions from your doctor. Since you have ongoing wage loss, your case value is typically higher.
Completely Out of Work into the Future
If you are unable to return to work now and into the future, your case value is likely the highest. This is because the workers’ compensation insurance company has the highest risk of paying your benefits indefinitely. Plus, if you are unable to return to work it may indicate that you have a severe injury and require lots of expensive medical care in the future.
What about my pain and suffering?
When asking “How much is my case worth?” you will likely wonder how the law takes into account your pain and suffering. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law does not provide you money for pain and suffering. It also does not compensate you for the way in which other aspects of your life may have been affected. In other words, the law doesn’t care if you fall behind on your mortgage, lose a car, or experience strained relationships with your loved ones as a result of your work injury.
This is a tough pill to swallow, but it is the law. If you try to use an online settlement value calculator in these cases, it will be wildly inaccurate. For example, you may fall 3 stories off a ladder and break 10 bones in your body. Obviously, this would be really painful and result in a long period of extreme suffering. However, if you were able to get back to work the next day and complete your job sitting down, you would not be entitled to any money at all.
As a result, when asking “How much is my case worth?” we cannot take into account your pain and suffering.
Cost of future medical treatment
Here, you may have heard the phrase “water under the bridge.” This saying is very appropriate when valuing your workers’ compensation case. Importantly, the insurance company responsible for paying benefits is typically only concerned about their future risk.
Here are a few examples showing how your need for future medical treatment may impact the value of your case:
- Lowest value – If a surgery or other procedure has already been paid for and you are better now, the cost of your future medical treatment is very low. This means very low risk for the insurance company.
- Medium value – You still need some therapy or medications for a while, but you are expected to recover at some point in the near future. Here, the insurance company has some risk in the event things do not go as planned.
- Highest value – You need an expensive surgery or other complicated procedure in the near future. Since there is no way of knowing whether the procedure will work, the insurance company has a high level of risk. In most instances, your case will have its highest value at this time.
When asking “How much is my case worth?” ensure you speak with an experienced lawyer about these issues. Contact an outstanding workers’ compensation lawyer at Kitay Law Offices today for a free consultation! You can reach us online or at 888-KITAYLAW.
Employment Law Cases
How strong is your evidence?
Employment violation cases typically involve very complicated facts. Normally, we see and hear multiple versions of the incident from several different participants and witnesses. The stronger your evidence is to show that your employer acted wrongfully, the higher your case value may be.
Here are some things that you can do to help increase the value of your case with strong evidence:
- Save any text messages
- Do not delete emails
- Make notes each day about what happened at work and who was involved
- Keep track of when you report the issue, who was involved in that conversation, and the response
Importantly, you will want all of this evidence available to provide to your experienced employment lawyer. This will help show that your version of events is true, even when other people remember things differently. As a result, the value of your case may increase.
Where would your case be in court?
Earlier, we wrote about how the venue of your personal injury or car accident case can significantly impact your case value. The same is true with employment violation cases. Some courts have a reputation for large jury awards and others have a reputation for the opposite. As a result, where your case would end up in court based on the facts of your case can either increase or decrease the value of your case. An online settlement value calculator simply cannot accurately take venue into account.
How big is your employer?
When asking “How much is my case worth?” it is important to take into account your employer’s size. As a general statement, larger employers tend to pay more to resolve employment law cases.
The data corroborates this statement, as well. Earlier on this page, we provided you with survey information from a popular legal website. The responses demonstrated that case values were generally higher when the employer had more than 100 employees. While there can be exceptions, this is a strong trend that can impact the value of your case.
How hard is it for you to find another job?
If your employer improperly fired you, you still have a responsibility to try finding another job. Part of the damages you may be able to receive in your case is called “back pay.” Importantly, this is meant to compensate you for the difference between what you would have made had you not been terminated and what you actually earned since that time.
Here, this means you have a “duty to mitigate” your damages. Therefore, you have a legal duty to find another job if you can. Of course, this may mean that the new job pays less than what you used to make before you were fired. If there is a difference, your case value may be higher.
On the other hand, if you do not try finding another job, you may lose your claim for back pay. At the very least, the back pay you may be eligible to receive may be reduced. Failing to look for another job can severely hurt the vale of your case.
This part of valuing your case can get really complicated. Therefore, the best thing is to have an experienced employment lawyer on your side. Contact Kitay Law Offices online or at 888-KITAYLAW for a free consultation today!
Contact us for a free case evaluation!
As much as we hope the information on this page is helpful, there is really no substitute for discussing your case with an experienced lawyer. We deal with these issues every day and help each of our clients understand their case value. So if you are wondering “How much is my case worth?” contact us today!
Need a Spanish-speaking lawyer? We can help! Nearly everybody in our firm is bilingual in both English and Spanish. ¡Se habla español!