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How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

Question Mark and Judge's gavel - Mintz & Geftic - NJ Personal Injury Lawyers

When we meet with a potential client during a free consultation, they sometimes ask us a rather predictable question, and understandably so. That question is “How much is my case worth?”

These clients are dealing with serious injuries like broken bones, burns, severe back pain or even traumatic brain injury.

They may have been involved in a serious car or truck accident.

They may be missing work and incurring mounting medical bills.

They may have taken a bad fall, possibly slipping on ice or snow.

They may have been injured on the job in a work accident or construction accident.

They might be facing back surgery or unable to even walk on their own into our office.

With good reason, these clients want to know what kind of compensation they can expect to receive for all of their pain and suffering.

Before we look take a closer look at this question, first a quick red flag warning for anyone meeting with an attorney for the first time.


If a personal injury attorney ever gives you an immediate answer for how much your case is worth at your first meeting, we strongly suggest consulting with another lawyer or firm. 

For example, if an attorney says your case is worth millions without gathering more information (i.e. police reports, medical records, insurance info, etc.), the red flag should definitely be raised.


What Are Personal Injury Damages?

How much is my case worth? Well, the short answer legally is “damages”.

What are personal injury damages?

When someone is seriously injured in a car or truck accident, work accident or slip and fall, they are entitled to financial compensation for their injuries.

Monetary damages are paid to the injured person (plaintiff) by the person or company who is found to be legally responsible for the accident (the defendant or their insurer).


How are Personal Injury Damages Awarded?

Damages can be awarded through a settlement negotiation. In a negotiated settlement, there is an amount agreed upon by each of the parties, their attorneys and their insurance companies.

This negotiation process is where choosing a law firm with experience is crucial. Clients want their lawyer to have a track record of securing great results for their clients. Which leads us to the:


You can view some of our results here and check out reviews from our clients here.

When a settlement can’t be agreed upon by all parties, then the personal injury lawsuit will proceed to trial. In this example, damages would be determined by a judge or jury at the conclusion of the trial in a verdict.


Compensatory Damages

When it comes to most personal injury lawsuits, damages that are awarded are classified as “compensatory”.  In certain lawsuits punitive damages may be awarded as well, but those cases are not typical. Punitive damages serve as a punishment and deterrent.

As the name suggests, compensatory damages are intended to provide compensation to the injured person for what they lost due to their accident and resulting injuries.

Compensatory damages are meant to make the injured person whole again from a financial perspective. Examples include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Permanent disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental pain and suffering

Medical expenses can include any costs that are related to the victim’s accident or injury. For example, consultations with doctors, prescriptions, treatments, surgeries, etc. In addition, if the accident or injury requires medical care for years to come, then future medical expenses may apply as well.

Lost wages include any take-home pay that the plaintiff has been unable to earn due to their accident and injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Loss of earning capacity – In some cases, plaintiffs may be able to recover earnings that will be lost in the future. The following excerpt is from New Jersey’s jury instructions regarding loss of future earnings:

“If you decide from the evidence that it is reasonably probable that plaintiff will lose income in the future, because [either] he/she has not been able to return to work, [or] he/she has not been able to keep the same job, [or] he/she will be able to work for a shorter period of time only, then you should include an amount to compensate for those lost earnings.”

Pain and Suffering – Defined

Physical pain and suffering is the pain caused by the plaintiff’s actual physical injuries. This includes the pain and discomfort that the victim has suffered with since their accident. In addition, it relates to the effects that will remain into the future as a result of injuries from the defendant’s negligence.

Mental pain and suffering refers to affects the injury has had from a mental and emotional perspective. This can include things like emotion distress, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, anxiety, depression, sleep loss, etc. Like we mentioned with physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering includes the effects since the accident as well as those that are more likely to take place in the future.

Pain and Suffering – Quantifying it

While damages such as medical expenses and lost wages contain actual data and figures that can be calculated, putting a dollar amount on pain and suffering is much more difficult (see red flag warning at top of page).

If you check with different insurance and legal resources, answers will vary.

There are some that suggest using a “multiplier” to estimate a dollar amount for pain and suffering.

In one “multiplier” scenario, one simply takes the medical expenses that the client has endured and multiplies them by three to five.

Another concept adds up all the other compensatory damages and multiplies that figure by a certain number. The multiplier they use under this theory would fall between a range of 1.5 on the low end to 4 or 5 on the high end.

What factors determine which multiplier to use according to this idea? Things like the seriousness of an injury, impact on work and daily life, estimated recovery time, and level of fault of the other party involved in the accident.

Of course, while maybe providing a ballpark estimate or guideline for some, these concepts clearly have their flaws and shouldn’t be relied upon.

For example, if damages add up to $200k then that multiplier of 1.5 equals a settlement of $300k on the low end…while a multiplier of 5 can lead to $1 Million on the high end. That is quite a wide range!

Other insurers and attorneys have used a time unit method to help calculate an amount for pain and suffering. For example, some may come up with a figure of what the pain and suffering is worth on an hourly basis. Multiply that for 24hrs, 365 days and then years (based on life expectancy) to come up with a total.

While breaking pain down on an hourly or daily level is helpful, coming up with a dollar amount for that hour or day is still a challenge.  Furthermore, in New Jersey, attorneys can explain the “per day” concept to jurors. However, they cannot suggest a specific dollar amount, so at trial it is still ultimately left up to the jury.

An experienced law firm like Mintz & Geftic understands this. We leverage our experience in utilizing key strategies before trial in negotiating a settlement, and if necessary, during trial to help ensure our clients get the best judgment possible.


Soooo, how much is my case actually worth?

“Yeah, yeah, Mr. Lawyer, you’ve given me a ton of info, but I’m still not really sure what my case is actually worth,”

The bottom-line is that every single case is unique. We have been representing victims of accidents with serious injuries for over 40 years. We understand that each client has their own circumstances that must be investigated thoroughly.

We must discuss the details with our client. We need to look at accident reports, video evidence (when available) and medical records.

We sometimes need to work with medical and liability experts to get a true understanding of the case.

If you believe you or a loved one has a case and are interested in the value of your case, scheduling a free consultation is the first step. We are here to FIGHT FOR YOU!


MINTZ & GEFTIC – New Jersey Personal Injury Law Firm


All cases involving truck accidents and car accidents require NO FEE unless we are successful in securing you a recovery to compensate you for your injuries and pain and suffering. 

We give personal attention to all of our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, truck accident, rear end accident, pedestrian accident please call the best New Jersey injury lawyers today at 908-352-2323.

Were you injured as an Uber driver, Uber passenger, Lyft driver or Lyft passenger? We understand the latest laws when it comes to ride-share companies. Call us today for a free consultation.

Did you suffer injuries in a car accident while you were working? Call us today at 908-352-2323. Do you prefer contacting our injury lawyers via email, then  please click here.

If you are a truck driver who was injured while working call us today at 908-352-2323.

If you prefer contacting our injury lawyers via email, please click here. Our injury lawyers serve clients throughout New Jersey. This includes the cities of Newark, Elizabeth, Union, Short Hills, Millburn, Livingston and Jersey City. We cover Morris, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties. Our accident lawyers have offices in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Short Hills, New Jersey and in New York City.

We represent clients suffering with spinal cord injury, back injury, burn injury, broken bones and traumatic brain injury. 

If you are enduring physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, lost wages, medical expenses or any other hardship resulting from a truck accident, car accident or pedestrian accident please contact us today for a free consultation.

You can view some of our results here and check out reviews from our clients here.


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