One of the most frequent questions clients ask attorneys is: “What is my case worth? What can I expect to put into my pocket from my claim?”
This is a question which should not be considered until at least several months after the injury occurred.
No attempt to settle a claim should be made until after the claimant’s doctors have had sufficient time to learn and understand the full nature and extent of the injuries. After the doctors have had enough time to fully understand the injuries, thought could then be given to settling the case.
The value of the case is not something that can be easily calculated. The price of a case cannot be found in something like a Sears and Roebuck catalog. Neither are there any quick and simple formulas such as a multiple of the amount of medical bills that will tell you what a personal injury case is worth.
The factors that should be considered for valuing a personal injury clam include but are not limited to:
- how much are the medical bills
- what is the nature and extent of the injury and are those injuries permanent
- how the injuries have affected the injured person
- whether the daily habits and lifestyle of the injured are adversely affected by the injuries
- the length of time out of work and the amount of wages lost for being out of work
- the nature, degree, and extent of pain and discomfort suffered
The ultimate determination of the value of a personal injury case is what a jury sitting in the county in which the case would be tried says that the case is worth. One way to estimate that number is to make a realistic evaluation of the amount your friends and family members would make of the case if you were not involved and if the victim were a complete stranger. Ask yourself what you yourself would value the case at if you were not involved.
As you can see, there is no precise way to measure what a personal injury case is worth and, in the final analysis, it is largely guesswork. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine a reasonable estimate of the value of the case based upon his or her years of experience in dealing with insurance adjusters and juries.