Often, one of the first things many of our clients want to know is , “How much is my case worth?” While this may seem simple enough, it is actually very difficult to determine early on in the case. Just as all people are different, the facts in each case are equally as different. Even the smallest of differences can make one case worth much more or conversely much less than another. Because of this, we are unable to give you an exact estimate of the value of your case until we have discovered all the facts and you have completed all medical treatment.
Before your lawyer can give you an estimate of your case value, you must have been released from treatment by your medical doctor. At this point, you will have most likely reached your Medical Maximum Improvement. Then, we must submit all of your medical bills (doctors, EMS, hospitals, etc.) along with our settlement demand package to the at-fault insurance company in an attempt for a settlement. It is likely at this point we will be able to give you an idea of how much we believe your case is valued.
Here are some of the many factors that go into determining the value of your case:
- severity of physical injuries and permanence of injuries
- cost of medical treatments (doctors, hospitals, therapy, prescriptions, etc.)
- need for rehabilitation, future medical treatments, or surgery
- degree of future disability, if any
- written opinions of your treating doctors
- test results from independent medical diagnostic groups
- amount of lost wages due to injuries
- probability of future lost wages, or lower wage earning capacity
- pain and suffering due to injuries
- age of client, previous injuries, previous claims, subrogation issues, etc.
- defendant’s percentage of liability
- other possible damages (loss of society, etc.)
- Damage to client vehicle
- Damage to defendants vehicle
- Gaps in medical treatment
- Was the defendant drunk or did he/she flee the scene?
With your cooperation, it is our responsibility to collect all of the facts and then advise you of the settlement value of your case. The settlement value of your case is based on a number of factors, both objective and subjective. Factors considered for settlement value include the current state of the law in fact situations like yours, past jury verdicts in local courts, and any offsetting non-reimbursable costs. Ultimately, we must also seriously consider the “risk factor.” The “risk factor” is a decision which only you, the client, can make. It takes into consideration the fact that any case can be won or lost through no fault of the lawyer or the client. There are no “guarantees.” Accepting a settlement without going to court eliminates the “risk factor,” however the value of the case may be (but not always) reduced to compensate for no risk. This is the true settlement value of your case. Please note, your legal assistant will never give you an estimate of the value of your case. The attorney will give you an estimate range upon your request and only after all medical treatments are completed; final medical reports have been submitted by all treating doctors; and after we have reviewed all pertinent facts in your case.
If you will remember your first interview with us, we explained the philosophy of our law firm is to file a lawsuit against all responsible defendants if it is determined that the probability of a favorable settlement is very low, or if another legal factor dictates litigation is the best route. Litigation is a very expensive option, but we will use it when other dispute resolution alternatives do not produce the preferred results. Our philosophy of using the least expensive alternative first usually (but not always) saves our clients money and results in more net cash from your settlement. If your case warrants litigation, we will advise on it, and seek your full cooperation.