How Much Is My Case Worth?

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Answer:

There are various factors which contribute to the value of a personal injury and/or wrongful death case and no two cases are alike.  The key is that you want to get good information from reliable sources.  (i.e. not TV lawyer promises, and not friends who mean well but have no training)  Although no one can definitively tell you exactly what your case is worth, here are a few factors you should weigh in estimating the value of your case.

What is your injury?

Is it permanent or are you likely to get well soon?  If it is permanent, how much does it limit your independence and mobility?  Focus groups have shown that jurors see the loss of mobility and the loss of independence as the biggest factor on their damage verdicts.  However, without a lawyer that has experience of going to the courthouse and winning, insurance companies will not factor these elements in.  As such, you will never obtain a settlement with the proper value of your case.

Pain

How intense is your pain?  Is the pain permanent or is it likely to heal?  But most important, can your doctors find an objective injury that is the source of your pain?  If he can, and you have a lawyer who can present this evidence clearly, you are on your way to proving your case.

What are your medical bills?

Most insurance companies will pay the medical bills if liability is clear.

Lost wages?

Most insurance companies will fight you on your lost wages, and then give you some “small portion” of what you show you have lost.  Only an experienced injury lawyer can tell you if your lost wage claim is strong enough to hold up in court.  A major factor is your ability to “document” through your employer or the IRS that you actually lost wages.

Other damages

You should document any and all “damages” (out of pocket expenses, other costs you incurred as a result of the injury).  The law allows for you to recover anything that you lost that is a direct result of the negligence of someone else.  Therefore, the ability to “document” your damages becomes a major factor in determining the value of your case.

Insurance Policy Limits

Regardless of the value of your case, if there is not enough insurance, you may never recover the full value of your case.  Insurance companies usually have limits when it comes to how much they are required to pay.  Since they’re a business, they will try as much as possible to downplay the accident in order to pay out the least amount of money.  They may not even tell you what the insurance limits are if you are not being represented by a qualified lawyer.  It is critical that you do not try to negotiate with the insurance company. If you do, you will ONLY hurt the value of your case.