As discussed in detail previously in this book, your bodily injury case is valued by the cost of your medical treatment, the amount and duration of that treatment, as well as your pain and suffering and documented lost wages.  Each component adds to the value of your case.  Removing any component reduces the value of your case.  It is your lawyer’s job to make sure that your case receives maximum value based on its specifics.  Every case is different; every injury is different; every claim is different.  Any lawyer who gives you a dollar value for your case before you have been treated is just pulling numbers out of thin air.  A lawyer can tell you what an average case is worth.  He can tell you what his experience shows a similar case may be worth, but he cannot tell you specifically what your case is worth without knowing all the facts, reading the medical records, and knowing your past history.

     When determining what you have lost due to a personal injury case, please keep in mind that you may or may not have lost wages.  You may have medical bill costs.  You may have prescription costs; even if you take over-the-counter pain medication, this is recoverable.  You may also have co pays.  If you require a nurse or someone to help take care of you as a result of your accident, that cost is recoverable.  What about household chores?  If you were unable to do something and your spouse had to do it, that is mentionable and recoverable.  If you normally mow your yard, however, due to your injuries you had to hire someone else to mow it, that is recoverable.  If your home had to be modified due to a permanent injury, this should be included in your accident case.  Many times people require transportation costs for transportation to and from treatment either through a taxi or some other service.  You should document and record this recoverable expense.  If you drive yourself, you should keep track of your mileage.  Normally when we present a demand, we present it based on whatever the appropriate tax rate is from the federal government for mileage at that time.  In 2009 it was 55 cents a mile.  Document what days you went from your location to the doctor’s office and back home; the total mileage for the round trip is the amount of mileage you are entitled to for that day.

Shane Smith
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Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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