In personal injury cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia, everyone wants to know how much a case is worth. This post by Richard Armond, a personal injury and wrongful death attorney based in Gwinnett County, dispels the idea that a "personal injury settlement calculator" can tell you how much a case is worth. Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, is available for free consultations regarding personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia.
The Georgia Personal Injury Settlement Calculator
Why is there no such thing in as a personal injury settlement calculator for cases in Georgia or anywhere? The simple answer is that many variables come into play. Any personal injury lawyer or website claiming to have such a calculator likely does not know what he or she is doing. Let's take a look at some of the variables which determine the value of a personal injury claim, whether it is in Gwinnett County, some other metro Atlanta county, or anywhere in the State of Georgia.
What should you beware of when asking a Georgia personal injury attorney how much your case is worth?
- Any Georgia lawyer or firm that claims to have a "personal injury settlement calculator." It does not exist. This is because there are too many variables and there is very much a human element to this area of the law. Ultimately, if a case does not settle, it is the conscience of a jury of twelve strangers who decide, and two different juries can reach much different results with the same set of facts.
- Most Georgia personal injury attorneys cannot give a close guess based on a simple phone call with five minutes of information. To get a general idea a Georgia personal injury attorney must examine all of the factors, and even then it is simply an educated guess.
- No magic formula exists in these cases to multiply an actual out-of-pocket loss for things like medical bills and lost wages to, for example, multiply by a certain number to get the dollar sum total of things like pain and suffering. No two insurance companies are the same nor are any two juries, any two venues, any two judges, etc.
What are some of the many variables that go into determining how much a Georgia personal injury case is worth?
Damages include things like:
1. Past Medical Expenses
2. Future Medical Expenses -- it is unlikely you will know this number when consulting with a personal injury attorney (another example of why the mythical "personal injury settlement calculator" does not exist.
3. Past Lost Wages
4. Future Lost Wages--again, it is unlikely in many cases that this will be known early on
5. Pain and Suffering Already Experienced
6. Future Pain and Suffering--yet again, this will often be unknown
7. Costs to maintain quality of life (things in addition to future medical care such as adaptations to one's home, automobile, etc.)
8. Other damages such as permanent scarring or burns, loss of a quality of life, etc.
Where a personal injury lawsuit can be brought can make a big difference. Historically, certain Georgia counties are known to have juries award larger verdicts than others. Insurance companies know this and take it into account when determining a settlement amount.
WHETHER THE DEFENDANT HAS ASSETS THAT CAN BE COLLECTED
Typically, we are talking about how much insurance coverage is in place. Sometimes, with corporate defendants insurance is not as much of an issue. However, it is not uncommon for there to be a wrongful death car accident case against a driver with next to no assets and the Georgia state law minimum of $25,000 in automobile liability coverage. If the victim was not covered under an uninsured motorist policy, a case that otherwise may have been worth over a million dollars is sadly only a $25,000 case. At an initial consultation most of the time the insurance coverage information is unknown because the lawyer must send a demand to the defendant's insurer making an officer of the insurer certify under oath, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 33-3-28, the policy limits of coverage and information regarding any other known insurance coverage.
Each case is different. The purpose of Georgia torts laws is not for someone to hit the jackpot and get rich. The law is meant to balance the scales of justice to make someone whole again by the award of compensation for an injury. When you see large jury awards on the news it is because a personal injury victim lost his life or because a personal injury victim suffered a catastrophic injury which altered her life. At the onset of a case any experienced attorney will have to qualify answers because he or she is not going to have full information to let you know the full value. It is only after gathering medical records, gathering insurance coverage information, and investigating a case that any attorney knows how much should be demanded from the other party. Hopefully, this information gives you some idea of the many variables which go into determining the value of a personal injury case.
If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury or wrongful death in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based personal injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation.
Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.