How to Determine the Value of Your Personal Injury Case

“The punitive damages not only recognize your injury, but also the risk of injury that the defendant’s behavior may cause to others in the future.”


Suffering a personal injury because of the negligence of another can change your life in an instant. Necessary medical treatment may not be affordable and the personal injury might prevent you from working, finding a job, or participating in the recreational activities that you previously enjoyed.

Despite the number of ways that a personal injury can negatively affect your life, determining what qualifies as a personal injury and the monetary value of your personal injury case can be complicated.

What Qualifies as Personal Injury

Arizona law typically defines a personal injury as more than just an injury to your physical body. In addition to physical injuries, personal injuries can also include injury to your emotional state of mind based on trauma or loss of a loved one.

Every personal injury case is unique because each person’s circumstances are distinct and no personal injury incident unfolds in exactly the same manner. Maybe you were injured in a car accident, by a vicious dog, on the job, or by simply slipping in the grocery store.

At worst, you may be suffering emotional or mental injury based on the wrongful death of a loved one or medical malpractice committed by a negligent doctor. Perhaps your personal injury includes a combination of injuries to your body, mind, and emotional state.

Determining the Monetary Value of a Personal Injury

When you hire a personal injury lawyer, the lawyer will help you articulate the exact type of personal injury that you have suffered and file a lawsuit against the party at fault to seek compensatory or punitive damages on your behalf.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are damages meant to compensate you for your losses resulting from personal injury. Compensatory damages are calculated by the court and can include actual and estimated damages.

These damages may be economic or non-economic in nature. For example, the law on personal injury allows you to recover the monetary value for actual losses including expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and repair bills directly resulting from an accident.

These actual economic damages are generally easily calculated because there is an actual monetary value associated with those losses. You probably have the bill or know the number of days that you were required to take off of work and can calculate what you would have been paid based on your salary or an hourly wage.

Non-economic Damages

“The court is required to place a monetary value on your suffering, the value to your family of your loved one’s life, or the value of your mental health.”


In certain circumstances, you may also recover compensatory damages for estimated and non-monetary suffering for intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. These non-economic damages can be more difficult to calculate because they are subjective.

The court is required to place a monetary value on your suffering, the value to your family of your loved one’s life, or the value of your mental health. In any personal injury case, it is imperative that you keep track of your bills and expenses associated with the personal injury so that you can be fairly compensated in the future.

Punitive Damages

In addition to compensatory damages, a personal injury lawyer may also file a lawsuit on your behalf seeking punitive damages. The law on personal injury sometimes allows punitive damages to be awarded as a punishment to the party at fault in a personal injury case.

Punitive damages are often seen in cases involving a corporate defendant where compensatory damages alone will not serve as a deterrent because of the great financial resources available to the defendant. In these cases, punitive damages serve as a mechanism to deter harmful and negligent behavior that contributed to the personal injury in the first place.

The punitive damages not only recognize your injury, but also the risk of injury that the defendant’s behavior may cause to others in the future. Punitive damages are not always awarded in personal injury cases and it is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer to determine if you may be able to recover punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.

Contact Personal Injury Attorney Goodnow McKay

To determine the value of your personal injury case, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer to analyze the specific facts and circumstances of your case as it relates to the law on personal injury.

Without an experienced advocate, you may miss out on damages that should be fairly awarded to you for your personal injury. Our attorneys at Goodnow McKay specialize in a variety of personal injury cases and are available to help you assess the value of your personal injury case. We will also determine the best path to recover the losses that resulted from your personal injury and fight to make you whole again.

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