- 15 Steps to Obtain the Most Value from Your Personal Injury Claim
- November 29, 2017 | Author: Mitchell H. Portnoi
- Law Firm: Post, Polak, Goodsell & Strauchler, P.A. - Roseland Office
“What is my case worth?” This is one of the most common questions I’m asked at the beginning of a personal injury case. However, if you’re in the beginning stages of your case, it’s most likely way too early to assign value to it — this is something inexperienced lawyers and recent law school graduates typically fail to recognize.
No worthwhile attorney can put a value on a case until all the facts are known from both sides. There are many factors to consider in order to make an appropriate demand on an insurance company and obtain settlement which matches the injury and compensates a victim for the loss incurred — including pain and suffering endured, or any future problems that may have to be contended with.
Some insurance companies use computer systems for assistance in pricing out a claim. These systems utilize hundreds of variables to arrive at accurate and “fair” numbers. But beyond the algorithms, there is an art form, and somewhat of a science, to making a demand and formulating an appropriate settlement amount for your case. From the nature and extent of your permanent injuries including any visible scarring, to any out of pocket cost or losses, prior medical conditions such as past injuries to the same area of the body, and even the county in which the case will be heard — there are many factors to consider when pursuing your personal injury claim. Some of the most important being:
1. The high quality of the lawyer you hire. And it’s crucial to follow his/her instructions.
2. The nature of the accident (severity of the property damages) and the role your actions played in such accident.
3. The threshold you selected, and whether your injuries overcome that threshold (generally for motor vehicle accidents).
4. The amount of available insurance.
5. Your age and economic losses, including past and future lost wages.
6. Your medical treatment — surgery or the need for future surgery, test results (e.g., MRI films) as well as the extent and continuity of that treatment.
7. The quality of the opinions from your treating doctors, as well as their reputation and availability to testify on your case.
8. Nature and extent of your ability to engage in usual, customary and recreational activities.
9. Your ability to fully express yourself in a deposition or on the witness stand.
10. The amount of liens to be paid back to Medicare, Medicaid, charity case or ERISA Liens.
11. The Judge assigned to your case — possible bias in either direction.
12. The amount of time passed before your case lands in court.
13. The amount of loss suffered by your spouse, also known as “Loss of Consortium.”
14. The quality of testimony of lay witnesses, your friends and family.
15. Whether the defendants continue to stay in business.And this is only the beginning — in fact, there are several additional ways to achieve the most value from your personal injury claim. However, since there are no books or charts that attorneys can refer to for assigning the value of a case for settlement purposes, experience and skill from an exceptional personal injury attorney is key.