If someone else’s negligence causes your injury in a Florida accident, or on a cruise or boat, you may want to know how much your case is worth.
This article applies to car accidents, motorcycle wrecks, truck crashes, slip or trip and falls, bike accidents, pedestrian accidents, cruise ship accidents, dog bites and many other types of accidents in Florida. Much of this article does not apply to a straight workers’ compensation claim against your employer.
Although it is not an exact science, there is a general formula that is used to calculate the settlement value of a personal injury case.
One of the many benefits of hiring an experienced Florida injury lawyer is because they should know this settlement formula and how to figure out the amounts that are put into the formula.
It has taken me many years to really understand the value of a personal injury case. It is an art because juries are constantly awarding different verdicts for similar injuries.
Assuming someone is liable for your accident, the very basic version of a settlement formula in a Florida personal injury case is:
Settlement = (Full Value of Damages) x (100% – % Chance of Defense Verdict) x (100% – Your % of Fault)
1. The first step is to know the full value of your damages.
The first step to determine the final injury claim settlement value is to figure out the full value of the case. Without knowing the full value you are shooting in the dark.
2. You then need to know the percent chance that the jury will find no liability on the defendant.
I have learned how to estimate the percentage chance of a defense verdict or dismissal by handling personal injury cases for the past ten years. This is often a complex piece of the puzzle. The easiest scenario to estimate the percentage chance of a defense verdict would be in a rear end motor vehicle accident.
3. Comparative fault, if any.
You then need to know your percentage of fault, if any. It has taken me 10 years to learn how to accurately estimate the percentage of fault, if any, on the person claiming injury.
Assume that you hit a car that made a left hand turn in front of the car that you were driving in Florida. The other driver received a ticket for failure to yield the right of way. The other car has bodily injury liability coverage in his auto insurance with State Farm. State Farm argues that you are 25% at fault because you should have seen the other car and you could have avoided the crash.
You treat with a doctor who sends you to get an MRI. The MRI shows that you have a herniated disc.
I’ll keep it simple here and assume that the claims adjuster will not try to deny or minimize the existence, cause or severity of your herniated disc. Basically, we are assuming that your injuries are completely related to the incident.
Your out-of-pocket medical bills are $5,000. You did not miss any time from work. Let’s assume that the full value of the pain and suffering from your herniated disc is worth $25,000. So the full value of your damages if $30,000.
Note: I used $25,000 because it is the low end of the settlement range. I chose the lower end of the range just to keep things simple. In an actual case, experience will help you know which end – or even above – of the range the value of the injury falls into. This is one of the advantages to hiring an attorney.
A possible settlement for your case would be.
I will plug-in the numbers:
Settlement = (Full Value of Damages) x (100% – % Chance of Defense Verdict) x (100% – Your % of Fault) x (100% – % Injuries are unrelated)
Settlement = ($30,000) x (100% -0%) x (100% – 25%) x (100% – 0%)
Settlement = ($30,000) x (100%) x (75%) x (100- 0%)
Possible Settlement = $22,500
In the above example, you may get a settlement of $22,500 from State Farm Auto Insurance Company.
You have a time limit within which you must sue or your claim is forever barred. I sometimes use my Florida injury and car accident settlement calculator as a starting point to determine the fair settlement value of a case.
86 Factors that Affect an Florida Accident Case Settlement
Now is where we factor in the more than 86 factors that can affect a Florida injury case settlement value.
5. Should you hire a Florida injury lawyer?
A good way to know whether to hire an Florida attorney is to see if you know the purpose behind every question on this detailed twenty-one page personal injury questionnaire. In addition, depending on your type of case, you should know the purpose behind every question on this (9) nine page slip and fall questionnaire or five (5) page motor vehicle accident questionnaire. There are over 11 reasons to hire a Florida accident lawyer.
Did someone’s carelessness cause your injury in an accident in Florida, or on a cruise or boat?
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