There are a lot of objective factors that go into computing damages. Time lost at work. A season’s pass at Mt. Baker that couldn’t be used. Damage to a vehicle. Medical expenses.
But the main focus in valuing a case is almost always medical expenses. The amount of medical expenses is important to case valuation for three main reasons:
1. The defendant is liable for the medical expenses incurred by the plaintiff.
2. The amount of medical expenses is usually equated with the magnitude of the injury.
3. When attorneys argue for general damages (pain, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, etc.) they typically do it based on a multiple of general damages.
It’s tough for defense attorneys when medical expenses are high. It’s tough for plaintiff’s attorneys when medical expenses are low.
The challenge (under either scenario) is to show that the assumed connection between medical expenses and magnitude of the injury doesn’t apply. We’ve been fortunate to have some great results even with low medical expenses (in some cases recovering 50 to 100 times medical expenses for severely injured clients who, for one reason or another, had very little treatment). Probably the best example is a case where we recovered $300,000 for a boy with an eye injury who received less than $3,000 in medical expenses.