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Why are some personal injuries cases with similar injuries worth different amounts?

Some people badly injured in auto accidents do not get full compensation for their injuries because there is not enough auto insurance to pay it out.  

However, even when lack of auto insurance coverage is not an issue, sometimes personal injuries cases with similar injuries can be worth very different amounts. Let’s examine why that is.

The first way the cases can vary is by the named Defendant. If you were injured by someone working on behalf of a big corporation like Home Depot and therefore Home Depot is a named co-defendant along with the at fault driver, that is usually a case worth more than if it were just against a John Smith.

Now the instructions given to the jury are such that they are not supposed to factor in the name of the Defendant; however, the thought is that at least subconsciously when the jury sees a big corporate name as a Defendant, they might be apt to award more money.

Another big factor is venue. Depending on how many Defendants there are, there are circumstances where a Plaintiff gets his choice of venue to sue in. However, usually, the venue is not at the Plaintiff’s discretion, and she is just suing in the home county of the sole Defendant.

Just like real estate, location is essential in personal injury case values. It’s just a statistical fact that certain counties are more Plaintiff friendly and others are more Defendant friendly. So statistically speaking, the venue of your case is going to impact the case value.

Another thing to look at is whether there is any punitive conduct by the Defendant. Was he driving drunk when he caused the accident. While this doesn’t have a direct amount on the amount of the medical bills or lost wages, it can matter greatly when the jury considers general damages, and potentially punitive damages.

Bad conduct by the Defendant could cause the jury to favor the Plaintiff more than the Defendant, which can increase the case value.

Finally, this article is only referring to the gross, and not the net, recovery. There are plenty of collateral sources that can cause similar gross recoveries to result in very different net recoveries.

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