Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How much is my personal injury case worth?

One of the most important questions on a person's mind when we initially meet with them for a case evaluation is, “how much do you think my case is worth?” This is a perfectly natural question to have in one's mind. After all, people want to know what level of harms and losses they sustained. And they want to know whether it is worth it to go through a lengthy and challenging lawsuit, which can last years, especially given the recent budget cuts to the Los Angeles Superior Court and elsewhere in California.

But unfortunately, there is no easy answer to the question of how much a particular case is worth. And any attorney who tries to tell you how much your case is worth during an initial consultation is either guessing, or simply trying to tell you what you want to hear. In order to fully evaluate the case, a lawyer will consider all the facts and circumstances involved including, the nature and extent of physical and emotional injuries, the amount of damage to the vehicles (if applicable), the available medical records, police reports, the treating physicians involved, the defendant's insurance company, loss of wages or earning potential (if any), the venue, the medical expenses, the age of the client, and the likability and credibility of the client, just to name some of the factors. Typically after the attorney has reviewed all of these pieces of information and after a doctor has determined the client's prognosis, then at that point the attorney will be in a position to advise you as to the value of your case. There are, however, situations where an attorney may be able to give you a range of potential recovery in your case, but that is not typical.

What is more more important, in my opinion, is for the potential client to understand what the litigation process is, and to feel comfortable with the attorney that they hire. For example, does the personal injury lawyer seem honest, credible, and concerned about your situation? Number two, does the attorney have a proven track record in dealing with these kinds of cases? And finally, is the lawyer comfortable taking your case to trial if the insurance company or defendant does not offer a reasonable sum to conclude your matter?

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