One question that we are often asked by our clients when we talk to them about their personal injury claim is "What is my case worth?
It's interesting whenever a client or potential client asks us this question, they are often surprised by our initial answer.
All of the attorneys in our office tell them the exact same thing: It depends.
We say "it depends" because this is the only true answer that can be given during the initial phases of your case. Before anyone can provide you with the value of your claim, there are questions that need to be answered.
Now - I can also tell when a potential client has spoken to another attorney before calling us. Some attorneys may tell you your case could be worth between an amount on the low end to another higher amount.
In my opinion, that attorney is not being completely truthful or forthcoming with that person.
They are dangling high dollar amounts in hopes the injured victim will hire them.
It's not right and I'm thankful that these people call us for another opinion so they can get the honest answer.
Now, it is difficult to list all of the items we consider when we put a "value on a claim." Our evaluations are not just based on the facts and the law, but upon jury verdict research, as well as our experience handling over 38,000 claims for injured victims and their families here in Georgia.
9 Factors We Consider When Valuing A Claim
(1) The impact of the crash
- How much property damage was done to the vehicles?
- Did the air bag deploy?
- Was the vehicle(s) towed from the scene?
(2) The severity of the injuries
We want to know:
- Were the injuries visible at the scene?
- Was the injured victim treated at the scene and transported by ambulance?
- Any broken bones, scarring?
- Surgeries or surgical recommendations?
(3) The amount of your medical bills, past, present and future, as well as any lost wages.
(4) We look at the parties involved . . .
This is one of those intangible things that is tough to measure. But we consider
- How likeable is the Plaintiff?
- How likeable is the Defendant?
- Prior accidents and injuries?
(5) Can we seek Punitive damages?
Insurance Companies are very afraid of punitive damage claims because this allows the jury to PUNISH the defendant if he/she was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These claims can add significant value to a case.
(6) Was a Tractor Trailer involved?
This usually means commercial insurance coverage available - typically with much higher insurance limits.
Commercial Truck drivers have a higher standard of care when they operate their tractor trailers and we can often find them in violation of one or more of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations?
(7) What insurance company provides coverage for the Defendant and the limits of coverage?
(8) Plaintiff's insurance company
- Are there additional under-insured limits available there?
(9) Where would a lawsuit be filed? (Also known as "venue")
- Some counties are better than others for injured victims to file their lawsuits.
Several Other Factors Can Also Add Value To A Claim
Facial scarring, disfigurement, and deformities can add tremendous value. These injuries are visible, and often emotionally devastating. This is especially true with women, and it is very important for us to work with them on finding the appropriate psychological counseling as well.
If you are hurt in a car wreck, please - don't rely on the insurance company to tell you what your case is worth. And don't take someone else's opinion on value. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to review your claim and have ALL the facts.
Don't navigate this difficult time alone, fill out our free case evaluation.
How do I find the best lawyer?
What is the process of filing a claim from start to finish?