Assume now that we have a 100% the fault of somebody other than you and you have a car crash case and you were injured, what is the value of that case? We have to start with the building blocks of determining value and that is “What are the reasonable medical expenses?” Then we have to say, on top of the reasonable past medical expenses what are the likely reasonable future medical expenses? And then we have to ask the same question about wage loss. What is the wage loss that has been incurred to date and what’s the likely future wage loss? Do I have other out of pocket expenses? That is another part of the building blocks. You add all of those up and that serves as a basis for your claim. You say, O.K. those are called my economic losses now what about non-economic losses? How are those determined?
There are three ways that we calculate the non-economic losses to figure out the value of a case. 1. We have to say,” How bad is the harm? 2. How long did the harm last? 3. How interfering is that harm with what I am trying to accomplish in my life professionally and personally? We can start to build the value of the case by looking at those items. Then we have to say alright, are there caps on damages that might limit my ability to recover? And there are caps, there are caps-government caps on what you can sue a government for and then there’s generalized caps on damages that might impact the value of those non-economic harms.
But starting to gather to look at all of those items and then saying what are juries doing in our marketplace because ultimately the jury is the determiner of value. A judge doesn’t determine value of most of these cases, it is the jury that is determining value so if the jury is determining value what have other juries done in the county where my case is going to be tried? There is a big difference between counties. There is a big difference between having a case in Colorado and having a case in Chicago depending on where you are in Chicago, because juries have different belief systems that impact what happens in those cases. If you add up all those things and say, here are my economic losses, my wage loss, my medical expenses and here I’ve got significant non-economic damages, right? I’ve got damages that are going to last forever causing significant pain or highly interfering but the at-fault driver only has $50,000 of insurance coverage, then we have to talk about a different issue which is not what the value is but what’s the collectible value? So we look at the totality of all those things and together working with our clients we can build what we believe is a reasonable value for the case.