Answer: Ultimately, for better or worse, we are trying to fit every civil case that we handle into an economic framework. Imperfect as it may be, the civil system is set up to provide money for individuals to reimburse them for the harms suffered, regardless of what the form that harm took in the first place. In a situation like property damage, this system works pretty well – an individual can be paid for the replacement or repair value of his or her property. In a situation where the harm is something awful, like death, it is much more difficult to fit such profound damages into a financial framework. Nevertheless, this is the system we have, and we strive to get as close to justice as we possibly can.


The factors that drive value in an injury case are generally, the following:


Loss of Normal Life: A change in or loss of one’s ability to experience life’s activities in the way you could before an incident, such as an inability to do yard work.

Pain and Suffering: The physical pain resulting from an injury.

Disfigurement: The physical manifestation of an injury, such as a scar.

Wage Loss: Income that a person would have earned, but for the injury.

Medical Bills: Charges for medical services rendered to treat an injury.

Emotional Distress: The psychological trauma resulting from an injury.

Future expected hard can be applied to all of these categories.


One of the best tools to use to determine how a case might be valued is the jury verdict reporter, which is a database of past case results. A rough comparison here can inform what an expected result might look like. It is important to keep in mind that cases wildly vary. Subtle differences in injuries can lead to vast differences in an assessment of financial damages. You could imagine that the difference between minor and life-changing for harms like facial scars or brain injuries is a very fine line.


Of course, the underlying factor that must also be considered is liability. If you are going to have a hard time proving that someone or something else is the cause of the harm suffered, the risk of losing at trial or walking away with a compromised award must be recognized.