More Issues Affecting the Value of a Personal Injury Case
Remember also that just because the plaintiff has a medical condition that pre-dates the accident, if the accident aggravated that condition, this aggravation is potentially a collectible part of the case. There is a principal of law that states- You take your victim as you find him. Just because a defendant injured a person who was especially susceptible to that injury, the defendant is not entitled to special sympathy. Those who act negligently do so at their own risk.
Further, even if the plaintiff had a pre-accident herniated disk, that injury might not have caused him or her any pain. The accident may trigger severe pain even if it did not objectively damage the disc. This pain is a collectible part of the plaintiff’s case, but the plaintiff will have to testify very credibly since there is no objective evidence to support the claim.
Age is a critical factor that affects the value of your injury. Older people take longer to recover from their injuries. Thus, the same injury to a 60-year-old generally brings a higher settlement than to a 30-year-old. However, if the injury is permanent, a younger plaintiff does better since he or she has to live with the injury for a longer period of time.
Another factor age plays a part in is that juries tend to believe that an older plaintiffs complaints are more genuine than a younger plaintiff’s. They are more likely to feel that the latter’s complaints are simply not credible and motivated by hopes of financial gain.
If the plaintiff is very credible, an adverse medical opinion as to, say, arthritis for an elderly plaintiff, may reduce the value of the case by only 10%. Conversely, if the plaintiff is not very credible in his or her testimony, that adverse opinion may influence the jury to award no damages at all. Ifa jury does not like a plaintiff, it will look for any reason at all to award only nominal damages (if that). Thus, if a jury awarded a plaintiff with a herniated disc $5,000, when the plaintiff sought $60,000, that would qualify as nominal damages and indicate clearly that the jury did not believe the hernia was caused by the accident.