Worth Factors In Personal Injury Cases

Most people know that if they’ve been involved in an accident — whether that’s a slip-and-fall at a grocery store or a car wreck with a commercial vehicle — that they might be entitled to compensation. That said, every case is different and the value of each case is determined by several worth factors.

A skilled personal injury attorney at Nix Patterson can review those factors to approximate what you might receive in economic and non-economic damages.

What Damages Can You Receive in a Personal Injury Case?

If your case is resolved successfully, you could receive compensation for your losses and damages. A personal injury claim intends to make the plaintiff “whole” with compensation when another party injured you.

Economic Damages

Economic damages have a specific numeric value. They are the damages that are simplest to calculate and include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical care required to treat your injuries
  • Lost earnings
  • Reduced ability to earn a living
  • Property damage

After hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can expedite the process by giving your lawyer all your medical bills, recent pay stubs, and auto damage estimates. The attorney will use this documentation to determine how much in economic damages to demand from the defendant or their insurance company.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are subjective and don’t have an easily-determined financial value. These damages consider your ability to care for yourself and enjoy a high quality of life. They also look at if your life changed for the worse after the injury and whether you have long-term pain and limitations. Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress about your injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, such as being unable to enjoy hobbies and exercise
  • Loss of consortium if you are unable to have an intimate relationship with your partner

Note that some states have a cap on the non-economic damages you can receive, particularly personal injury claims. For instance, Texas has a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice non-economic damages.

Types of Injuries and Case Value

A major worth factor in a personal injury case is the injuries sustained. You can suffer many different injuries, and their personal and financial impact on your life varies. For example:


Whiplash is a common injury in auto accidents caused by a sudden whipping motion of the head going back and forth in a collision. It tends to be undervalued by insurance companies because the injury cannot be seen on x-rays, but whiplash can be painful for weeks or even months. Treatment options include pain medication, physical therapy, and plenty of rest.

If you have whiplash, you will need strong evidence from your doctor that the injury is related to the accident.


These injuries can vary from hairline fractures that heal independently to compound fractures where the bone pokes through the skin. Some fractures require surgery to set the bone and having the victim wear a cast for weeks or months. If you need surgery, your case’s value rises significantly.

Spinal Cord Injuries

These are some of the most severe and expensive you can suffer in an accident. Spinal cord injuries can lead to partial or full paralysis and have a long-term effect on your life quality and ability to earn income. Consequently, spinal cord injury settlements tend to be higher than other injuries.

For example, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation estimates that the cost of high tetraplegia for the initial year is $1.1 million and $202,000 for each subsequent year. For paraplegia, care expenses are $567,000 for the first year and $75,000 for every year after that.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Traumatic brain injuries are often caused by a blow to the head in an accident, but also happen in slip-and-fall cases. A TBI can range from mild to catastrophic, but all these injuries can significantly impact your life and case value. For example, treating a typical TBI can cost $100,000, and that does not include ongoing care and rehabilitation needs.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering are among the most significant variables in worth factors for personal injury cases. As we noted earlier, pain and suffering is a subjective value. The insurance company or jury will usually review these factors to arrive at a pain and suffering figure:

  • How severe your injuries are and whether you needed surgery.
  • The nature of the injuries (soft tissue vs. broken bones, for example).
  • How your injuries affect your life today and in the future.
  • Your age, health, and income before the accident.
  • How the accidents impact your family life.

You can often increase your pain and suffering award by keeping a written or video journal of your pain and suffering.

What About Personal Injury Claim Calculators?

Some law firms may use a personal injury claim calculator on their website to give you an idea of your case’s value. Unfortunately, personal injury calculators are inaccurate and may not represent what the case is worth. There are no guarantees, and what you receive could be more or less.

Our Nix Patterson personal injury attorneys will evaluate every aspect of your case, the judge and court, your medical history and treatment plan, your income and job, and more before we estimate what your case is worth.

Common Personal Injury Claim Outcomes

The factors mentioned above influence what a personal injury case is worth. But in 2005, the Bureau of Justice Statistics did a study on personal injury claims, finding that only 4 to 5% of cases go to trial. Also, these case values were found:

  • 50% of plaintiffs received $24,000 or less
  • The median award in studied cases was $31,000
  • The median award for auto accidents was $16,000
  • Premises liability cases had a $90,000 median settlement
  • The average for medical malpractice cases in the study was $679,000

At Nix Patterson, we aim to get our clients top dollar.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

The worth factors mentioned here influence the amount of a personal injury award or settlement, but the best way to understand your case’s value is to have it reviewed by an experienced Nix Patterson personal injury attorney. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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