Every accident case is unique. Every case valuation depends upon a variety of factors which effect how much an insurance company is willing to offer and how little you are willing to accept. When a lawyer evaluates a case for settlement purposes they consider:
- How easy will it be to prove that the defendant was negligent?
- Did my client contribute to the accident in any way?
- Was my client wearing their seatbelt (if it is an auto accident)?
- How serious were my client’s injuries and did they suffer a permanent impairment or disability?
- Were my client’s injuries clearly caused by the accident rather than a pre-existing or degenerative condition?
- What is the amount of my client’s medical bills, both paid and unpaid?
- Did my client lose income as a result of the accident?
- How has the quality of my client’s life been affected by the accident?
- Will my client be a sympathetic party who a Jury will want to award money to?
- What do juries in this community typically award for accident cases?
- Does the client want to settle their case and are they willing to go to trial if necessary?
- Other factors that may only apply to the distinctive facts of your case.
Many times I meet with clients who ask why their case is worth while a friend, who was barely injured, got more. Unless I am provided with all the details of the friend’s case and complete an analysis of all the factors related to evaluating a case, that question is impossible to answer. More often than not, what you may have heard about your friend’s case may not even be completely accurate. Your friend might not share with you the true settlement amount or how much they netted in their pocket after payment of their medical bills, liens, costs and attorney fees. I would urge anyone to trust their lawyer to properly evaluate their case and not rely on anecdotes from friends and family.
Often times someone will sell or buy a house in a neighborhood and learn that a similar house sold for more months before or after your transaction. Why would that happen? Perhaps the similar houses were not that similar? Perhaps the buyer or seller were more or less motivated to buy or sell? Perhaps it was simple timing and the market for the homes was different? The bottom line is that your case, just like a house, is worth the most one is willing to pay and you are willing to accept.
You may be disappointed that this blog has not answered your question, “what is my case worth?” But, you should know that determining the value of an accident case is an art and not a science. There is no magic formula for assessing value. But, a good experienced lawyer should be trusted to make a recommendation of whether you should settle for an amount offered by the insurance company or proceed to trial. If your lawyer is representing you on a contingent fee bases, they have a financial interest and ethical duty to seek the highest amount of money for your claim.
I have represented thousands of injured people over the course of my career and have done this valuation for each of them. If you are injured, you deserve a lawyer who can give you a reasoned and reliable opinion about your case value. Call the lawyers at Ludin Law to discuss your case.