How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

You are probably left with many questions in the aftermath of a serious accident. How will you pay your medical bills and living expenses while you cannot work? How can you recover the money you need from the at-fault party? 

A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal landscape and pursue compensation for your losses. Here’s how a lawyer determines how much your case is worth to ensure the compensation you receive is fair. 

Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Personal Injury Case in St. Louis, Missouri

Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Personal Injury Case in St. Louis, Missouri

Injury victims in Missouri are entitled to recover money for their losses from liable parties.

You are entitled to compensatory or “actual” damages by proving liability. This includes economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages are financial losses related to your accident. Examples include: 

You are entitled to current damages and anticipated future costs associated with your accident. 

Medical expenses include initial treatment and surgery to diagnostic tests, medication, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. You are also entitled to compensation for any necessary adaptive technology or modifications to your home or vehicle. 

Even though these damages have a clear financial value, determining the total value may be complex if you were seriously injured. Your lawyer may work with medical, economic, and occupational experts to estimate the value of future necessary medical care, lost future earnings, and benefits of employment you will lose. 

Non-economic damages are personal losses without financial value. This includes emotional, physical, and psychological losses such as: 

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Depression, PTSD, and anxiety

Punitive damages may be awarded in rare personal injury cases that go before a jury. You must meet a higher burden of proof to recover these damages. Under Missouri law, you must prove the defendant wasn’t simply negligent (careless) but engaged in reckless or egregious behavior. 

Factors Affecting How Much Your Personal Injury Case May Be Worth

Many factors must be considered to determine a fair value for your case. Some factors may increase or limit the amount of compensation you can recover. 

Important factors affecting your case include: 

  • The severity of your injuries
  • Whether you suffered permanent or long-term injuries
  • How your injuries will affect your daily life
  • The circumstances of your accident
  • Whether you share fault
  • Whether there is strong evidence for causation and liability
  • Insurance coverage

If your case goes to court, your lawyer will explain the uncertainty involved with a jury. For example, whether a jury can easily understand your injuries and whether they are sympathetic may affect what they will award. 

Your maximum compensation for non-economic damages will be capped if your case involves medical malpractice. This cap is based on the injury severity and increases by 1.7% annually. For 2024, the cap is $420,749 for non-catastrophic injuries and $736,310 for catastrophic injuries

As a general rule, the stronger your evidence and the more serious your injuries, the higher the potential value of your case. 

How Are Non-Economic Damages Calculated?

Non-economic damages are highly subjective. How does a personal injury lawyer calculate the value of pain and suffering and other losses? Determining a fair value can be difficult. To calculate an amount and justify it to the insurance company or jury, your lawyer will consider: 

  • Types of injuries you sustained
  • The severity of your injuries
  • Medical care you received
  • How long it took to recover
  • Whether you are permanently disabled or impaired
  • The effects of your injuries on your daily life and independence
  • Activities you can no longer enjoy

The higher your non-economic damages, the more important it becomes to show strong evidence. This can include expert witness testimony about the nature of your injuries, testimony from family and friends, medical records, and a journal you kept during recovery. 

To estimate the value of your case, your lawyer may begin by calculating your total economic damages and multiplying this total by a factor of 1.5 to 5. This estimates the value of non-economic losses. This new total can be a starting point for negotiations. 

What if I Was Partially at Fault for My Accident?

States use different doctrines of contributory fault to distribute damages when multiple people share liability. 

Missouri uses a pure comparative negligence rule in cases involving shared fault. If you are partially responsible for your accident or injuries, the compensation you recover will be reduced based on your share of assigned fault. You can potentially still pursue compensation from the other party even if you are 99% to blame for the accident. 

For example, if you are found 40% to blame for your accident and suffered $60,000 in damages, your recovery will be reduced by 40% to $36,000. 

The percentage of fault each party shares is assigned by a jury or a judge in a personal injury lawsuit. Otherwise, an insurance company determines the fault of each party. 

Because every share of fault you are assigned directly reduces the compensation you recover, it’s critical to work with an experienced lawyer if you are being blamed. Insurance companies will try to shift as much blame as possible to reduce the amount they must pay. Your lawyer will gather as much evidence as possible to prove causation and the other party’s negligence. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer 

If you have been seriously injured in an accident, it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t trust the insurance company to determine what your case is worth or accept their initial offer. A lawyer will investigate your accident and determine the full value of your losses, including future losses you may not have considered. 

Contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers at (314) 444-4444 today to schedule a free consultation with a St. Louis personal injury lawyer. We will help you understand what your case may be worth and explore your legal options with you.