What is My Personal Injury Case Worth in NYC?
Accident Victims Must Have Realistic Expectations
Before embarking upon a lawsuit, most seriously injured clients understandably want to know how much they should expect to receive from the case. This is not a simple analysis. The value of your case depends upon many factors. For example, liability against the defendant may be very strong or it may be somewhat tenuous. The injured person may bear some level of fault for the happening of the accident, or may be entirely blameless. This is an important factor since, under the law of comparative negligence, jury verdicts are reduced by the injured person’s (i.e., the plaintiff’s) percentage of fault. It may be clear that the injuries were caused by the accident, but that issue may be disputed by the defendant’s insurance carrier. Other obvious factors that determine how much a client may be awarded include the severity of the injuries, whether the injuries are permanent, whether the injured person is temporarily or permanently disabled, how much medical treatment the injured person received, whether future surgery is likely, the client’s age, whether there were prior injuries to the same body part, and whether there are out of pocket costs for medical care. Finally, since a jury must decide each party’s percentage of fault and the value of injuries, where the lawsuit will be brought is certainly a factor. Some counties in New York State are generous. Others are very conservative. A jury in Suffolk County might award $100,000 to an injured plaintiff while a jury in the Bronx deciding the same case might award $1 million.
Sample Settlements for Personal Injury Cases in NY
The following are settlements and verdicts that we have obtained on behalf of our clients.
- We obtained $15 million for an eight-year-old girl who was seriously brain injured at birth by medical malpractice. The case of her mother, also severely brain damaged and in a coma for 7 years, was settled for seven million dollars – Bronx County;
- We obtained $7 million for a 16-year-old undocumented boy who sustained severe pelvic and urological injuries when his bicycle was struck by a truck making a left turn – Suffolk County;
- We obtained $6 million for a businessman who suffered the loss of one leg and a crush injury to his other leg when a car drove up on the sidewalk and knocked him through a plate glass window – Queens County;
- $1.125 million for a 47-year-old NYC firefighter whose neck injuries required cervical fusion – New York County;
- $920,000 for a 55-year-old police officer who, among other injuries, required a total knee replacement – New York County;
- $650,000 for a 45-year-old sanitation worker who suffered a torn rotator cuff that required multiple surgeries after the driver of a car attempted to pass the garbage truck he was loading – Kings County;
- $750,000 for a 42-year-old woman who was hit by a car as she attempted to cross the street while pushing a baby carriage (thankfully, the child was uninjured). Her injuries included a fractured elbow requiring surgery and the insertion of a metal plate and screws, fractured teeth and nose, and a fractured thumb requiring surgery – Rockland County;
- $350,000 for a 35 year old woman who fractured her ankle requiring surgery to insert a plate and screws and a 2nd surgery to remove them, as a result of her leg getting caught in the gap between a subway train and the subway platform – New York County;
- $450,000 for a 41 year old man whose accident aggravated his pre-existing bilateral knee conditions requiring medial meniscectomy surgeries on both knees – Staten Island.
While prior verdicts and settlements are certainly no guarantee of future success, we hope that this article has helped you to understand how many factors need to be considered when analyzing the value of a personal injury case. The jury will be instructed by the judge to consider many of the factors listed above. At the end of the day, one of the most important factors is the credibility of the plaintiff. A jury will no doubt base its verdict on whether they believe that the injured person is telling the truth. If they like and believe the plaintiff, they will award a fair amount money to compensate him. If they don’t believe the plaintiff and think that he or she is exaggerating the injuries, they will be far less generous.
If you are ever involved in a serious accident, make sure that you get a free consultation by an experienced personal injury attorney