Determining the value of a Chicago personal injury case is, in a word, complicated. There are no books that say, “This is the value of a car accident with a broken leg…” There are numerous factors, such as the nature of the incident, the nature of the injuries, the amount of the medical bills, the amount of the lost wages from work, the amount of available insurance, the location of the litigation, the appearance of the injured victim, the appearance of the negligent person, the appearance of the doctors… I could go on and on…
Over the years, my clients, let’s say someone who was in a car accident, will tell me, “I know a guy who was in a car accident, and he got a million bucks. Therefore, I should get a million bucks, right?” Everyone seems to know someone who had a personal injury case at a point in their lives and because that person got X amount of money, they should get at least that amount. To illustrate why this is completely incorrect, I will lay out the facts of a case we recently handled, involving three injured victims. Though all originating from the same accident, each one of the cases had its own idiosyncrasies and each had very significant differences in value.
The 3 Victim Car Accident Injury Case Settled Example
As Chicago car accident injury lawyers we handled involved a vehicle operator who drove his car into the rear of a stopped vehicle, then causing the negligent driver’s car to jump the curb and slam into two 19-year-olds, a man, and a woman, who were on the sidewalk near a bus shelter. The force of the impact thrusted the 19-year-olds though a glass wall of the bus shelter. Heroically, the 19-year-old man, positioned himself in front of his girlfriend, in an attempt to shield her.
The driver of the car that was rear ended suffered a soft tissue neck injury and a back whiplash injury, which he made a quick recovery from. He incurred medical bills of approximately $20,000. His case settled for $50,000.
The 19-year-old man, who attempted to shield his girlfriend, suffered lumbar, left shoulder, and right knee strains which resulted in hospitalization and seven weeks of therapy, coupled with trigger point injections and prescribed pain killers. Fortunately, he completely recovered from his physical injuries. His medical bills totaled about $24,000. There were no lost wages as he was a college student. His case settled for $80,000.
The woman who was on the sidewalk suffered the worst injuries of the bunch, by far. Her orthopedic surgeon testified that she sustained the most severe knee injury a patient can have short of amputation. He testified that every ligament and tendon which comprise the entire soft tissue support for the knee joint had been ruptured. He testified that she would endure life-long pain and suffering which may get worse with time. Based upon her young age, she will likely require knee replacement surgeries over the course of her lifetime. She incurred approximately $255,000 in medical expenses and it is expected that she will have future medical expenses in the amount of approximately $178,000. She had no lost wages as she was also a college student. Her case settled for $1,200,000.
So there you have it, one accident, three people, three very different injuries, three very different values. The point of this article I suppose is that every Chicago personal injury case is unique. Each has its own peculiarities. Each has its own value. There are no text-book answers. There are no simple values. It is important to find a Chicago personal injury lawyer who will carefully consider all the many factors that go into evaluating a personal injury case.