One of the most common questions we are asked is “How much is my case worth?” Even though, Attorneys’ may use similar methods of analysis to help determine the value of your case, they also do extensive research.
The two primary factors in determining case value:
- Injuries – Your injuries are going to be the biggest factor in how much your case is worth. The more severe your injuries are, the more value your case has. You’re not going to get as much from a sprained neck or whiplash, than a person who suffered from multiple herniated discs. The pain and suffering, and long term effects are going to be more intense for the person who suffered from herniated discs. They are also going to need medical treatment now and in the future. However, even if you have the most minor injuries from an accident, seek medical attention to make sure that there isn’t anything going on that you may not be aware of.
- Following Treatment Plan – When seeking medical treatment, we will not know how much your case is worth until your doctor evaluates your injuries, treats you on a regular basis, and says you’ve reached your maximum improvement. When that time comes, they will be able to tell us if there is any permanent impairment or not. People who have a broken bone, a herniated disc or a brain injury will require more extensive treatment now and in the future than a sprained neck or soft tissue injury. Extensive injuries escalate the value of your case and minor injuries de-escalate the value of your case.
Every case is different even if two people were involved in the same accident. For example, you and your friend were in the car stopped at a red light and a semi-truck rear-ended you going 50 mph. Just because you were in the same accident, the value of your cases could be completely different. You may have different injuries, one of you may have been wearing a seat belt and the other one didn’t, or your friend may have an extensive injury history while you may have never been injured, or vice versa. Manty factors are considered when deriving a value. Some additional factors include, but are not limited to:
- Your criminal history (Insurance companies know that people with extensive criminal histories have a credibility problem with juries and will use that to deflate the value of your claim.)
- Your injury history (insurance companies will point the finger at prior accidents or injuries as being the source of the injury)
- Failing to follow your doctor’s treatment plan or gaps in treatment.
- Your physical presentation (This doesn’t seem fair but it is a reptilian fact. Believe it or not, if you are well dressed, well-groomed and pleasant you case will have more value. Insurance companies know that well-groomed friendly people come across as more likable and credible)
- Missed doctors’ appointments (insurance company will view you as disinterested in your own recovery, so you must not be that injured)
- The amount of damage the vehicles sustained. (Obviously if your vehicle was severely damaged that tends to reflect a serious collision that might produce a serious injury. If your vehicle only sustained a parking lot tap then it will be difficult to argue that the force of the collision was severe enough to produce a serious injury)
One of the ways that we determine the value of your case is by doing research on similar injuries sustained in wrecks similar to yours. We research and compare jury verdicts for cases similar to yours. We also use our experience of handling hundreds of similar cases.
Insurance – A limiting factor No matter what your case value is, the amount of available insurance can seriously limit your recovery. Not everyone carries insurance, but for the ones that do, many people will carry the least amount as possible to minimize the cost of insurance. If you were injured in an accident and the at-fault driver only carried $10,000 per person in bodily injury insurance, that $10,000 is the most you will be able to recover from your accident, unless you carry uninsured motorist on your insurance policy. You would need to recover the $10,000 from the at-fault drivers insurance before being able to make a claim under your uninsured motorist policy.
Overall, when you have any type of case with an Attorney, please know that the whole process takes time. It is very hard for an Attorney to know right off the bat how much your case is worth, so even for them, this is a difficult question to answer. They need time to get policy limits from insurance companies, see what your injuries are, speak with your doctor, look over your medical records, and smooth out any bumps in that appear in your case. They also have similar cases just like yours that they working on so don’t ever feel like they aren’t working on your case if you don’t hear from them all the time. Your main focus should be on you and getting your injuries taken care of. If you do have questions or want to check on your case, don’t hesitate to call your Attorney. They are there for you.
If you or someone you love has been in any type of accident and have questions, contact a lawyer. Law offices like Brooks Law Group, do not charge for case evaluation and don’t receive any money unless you do. We are here to help provide answers, make this tragic time a little easier on you, guide you through your accident claim, and provide you with the best client experience possible.