If you've got a personal injury case involving a finger injury, you're probably wondering how that specific kind of injury might be valued when it's time to talk settlement, or in the rare event that your court case goes to trial.
In this article, we'll look at some examples of past personal injury verdicts and settlements involving finger injury claims, and we'll discuss some key considerations when attempting to value a finger injury insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit (with the caveat that ultimate valuation will obviously depend on the unique facts of your case).
Finger injuries vary significantly in terms of severity, including:
Valuing a finger injury case means guessing what a jury might award the plaintiff (the injured person), and what the defendant (the person being sued, usually represented by an insurance company) would be willing to pay. There's also the question of what the sides might be willing to agree on in order to avoid putting their respective fates in the hands of an unpredictable jury.
That's a lot to keep track of. But the two big factors in valuing any finger injury case are:
Estimating how much the plaintiff might receive is a challenge. Some damages, like medical bills and lost income, are more "concrete", since they're typically based on dollar amounts paid or lost. For subjective losses like "pain and suffering," predictions are often an educated guess based on awards in similar finger injury cases. Because every case and every jury is different, even the best analysis will still only predict pain and suffering damages and other damages within a broad range.
How the finger injury affects a particular plaintiff is also key in valuing damages. For example, if the plaintiff was an avid piano player, but suffers a partially-disabling finger injury, his damages based on "loss of quality of life" will likely be higher in the eyes of a jury than if he did not have any hobbies or pastimes that required manual dexterity.
If the plaintiff had a prior finger injury that made him more susceptible to re-injury, the value of the case might go down. Additionally, if the finger injury temporarily or permanently prevents a plaintiff from making a living, the defendant could be liable for the full extent of lost wages.
(To help you understand the key factors that affect the overall value of your case, check out our calculator page.)
The other major factor in valuing a finger injury case is the likelihood that the defendant will be found liable at trial. If the plaintiff has little evidence proving the defendant was at fault for the plaintiff's finger injury, the value of the case goes down considerably. Even if the potential damages are high, a defendant will be less willing to settle and more inclined to roll the dice at trial. Similarly, where fault is up in the air, the plaintiff will probably be more inclined to accept a low settlement offer rather than run the risk of getting nothing at trial.
If you're thinking about filing an insurance claim or lawsuit after a finger injury caused by someone else's negligence, your best first step might be discussing your situation (and your options) with a personal injury lawyer.
A Note on Job-Related Finger Injuries and Workers' Compensation
A workplace finger injury will typically only be paid out through your state's worker's compensation insurance system. The standards of compensation vary from state to state, but if a plaintiff is not completely disabled by the injury and does not have high medical bills—no surgery was required, for example—the worker's compensation payment may not be very high, especially compared to a personal injury settlement. If your injury occurred while on the job, make sure you check out our workers compensation claims coverage.