What you will learn from reading this article:
- Why you shouldn’t trust people who tell you what your case is worth at the beginning of your personal injury case
- What variables are involved in personal injury cases
- Whether you should accept the first personal injury settlement offer you receive
When you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, a car accident, by defective products, a dog bite, or medical malpractice, it is tempting to want to find an attorney who will tell you definitively exactly how much money you can expect to receive in a lawsuit.
You probably have mounting bills already and want the certainty that you will receive a fair level of compensation, but resist the lure of trusting someone who predicts the unpredictable with unfounded confidence.
Unfortunately, every case is different, and each case has untold variables. You should be wary of website “calculators” that pop up in Google searches. They blithely promise to answer “How much is your claim worth?” after a mere 60-second or even 30-second “quiz.”
You should also be cautious of lawyers who over-promise or who declare that they know exactly how much your case will be worth without hearing more than your 30-second summary of the situation. No lawyer can reliably look into the future and give you a guaranteed figure.
You should look for an attorney who is experienced in personal injury cases and who communicates with you honestly.
Before venturing any kind of opinion, the lawyer will need to find out several pieces of information:
- The nature of your injuries
- The extent of your injuries
- What the liability is
- Whether your injuries are permanent or not
- Your medical bills and potential future bills
- If you have any lost wages or expected lost wages in the future
- What the insurance company limits are
Even when your attorney has all of that detailed information, he or she will still really only be able to give you a range of what typical cases like yours have settled for or obtained in court.
Always keep in mind the fact that every case is different.
Other factors that may affect your case are dependent on you and your own behavior and personality. For example:
- Are you following the doctor’s orders?
- Are you actively involved in the case?
- Are you risk-averse and inclined to want to settle quickly?
- Do you want to take the risk of proceeding with a case where you may get full compensation or, conversely, end up actually owing money?
- The most effective personal injury attorney will be one who
- Actively communicates with you
- Tells you the truth without inflating your hopes
- Is experienced in cases like yours and has a good track record
- Has good reviews from previous clients
- Can advise you when settlement is in your best interest
- You can trust to maximize the value of compensation that you’re going to receive
Do not allow an insurance adjuster to convince you that you do not need an attorney!
The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that only 4% – 5% of personal injury cases actually go to trial. Often, your attorney is able to use the pre-trial litigation process to build a strong case that prompts a more sizable settlement offer than you would have received otherwise.
It is generally unwise to accept the first offer made to you by the insurance company of the negligent party, but it is prudent to discuss your situation with an attorney who can advise you.
Insurance companies may offer low amounts in the following circumstances:
- They know you are inexperienced and assume (or hope) that you will immediately accept.
- They believe that you are desperate for cash and therefore anxious to settle.
You may be offered an amount that is not what you wanted, but that would work out better for you than a lawsuit when you take litigation costs into account.
How can you know what to do? Consult a personal injury attorney.
Our personal injury attorneys at Poynter & Bucheri LLC offer free consultations so that you can get answers to your questions and learn about your options for recovering compensation for your injury claim.
Call today for a free case review at 1-800-265-9881, or contact us online.
Hi, I’m Rich Bucheri from Poynter and Bucheri. Today, I want to kind of give a little bit advice regarding being aware of attorneys or any other websites that are trying to value your case at the very beginning of the case. So I know I’ve seen searches, Google searches, where people are, “What is the value of my case?” And there’s a website and there’s some type of calculator that tells you how much they think that your case is worth. Or I know that sometimes attorneys, when they’re trying to sign the client, always want to upsell the highest possible amount of settlement that they think you can get, and make it seem like that’s the amount of money that you’re going to get.
And simply put, at the very beginning of the case, without an attorney taking a look at the nature and extent of your injuries, whether they’re permanent or not, whether you have lost wages, whether the liability is there, what are the insurance policy limits, without any of that information, nobody is going to be able to tell you properly what the case is valued at. If you have an experienced attorney, they might be able to give you examples of cases that are similar to yours that have settled, and they might give you an idea or a range of what the typical settlements might be, but every case is different unto itself.
And a lot of how the case goes depends on you. And is this a situation where you’re following through with your doctor’s orders? Are you actively involved in the case? Are you a person that’s more risk-averse and just kind of wants to get the case over with and make sure that you get compensated something, or are you somebody that wants to go for the full value of your case no matter what, and you’re willing to take the risk in order to be able to get that?
So usually what I would advise that you do is you find an attorney that is experienced, that seems to know what he’s doing, that is actively involved in talking to you and communicating with you and finding somebody that basically you can trust. And then if you can find that attorney that you can trust, when it comes time to evaluate the case later on down the road, you can trust that that person is trying to maximize the value of compensation that you’re going to receive. If you have any questions, please give us a call at Poynter and Bucheri. Thank you.