How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
Over the years, I have had dozens of people call me because they are not satisfied with the personal injury settlement amount that their lawyer has told them to accept. Most of the calls start out with “The first day I went to the other lawyers office, he told me my case was worth Xamount and now he’s telling me to settle for Yamount.” It always turns out that the settlement amount that the lawyer gave on the first day was substantially higher than the offer he’s telling them to accept two years later.
If you walk into an attorney’s office for the first time and he tells you what your personal injury case is worth, you should run like the wind. Any lawyer who can tell you the value of your case a few days or a few weeks after your accident isn’t being honest with you. He just wants you to hire him, so he’ll promise you the world.
When Does A Lawyer Know What Your Personal Injury Claim Is Worth?
Any competent, honest attorney has no idea what a case is worth until he has done the following things:
1. Fully investigated the liability aspect of your personal injury claim including investigation and witness contact.
2. Complete review of your hospital and doctor records and reports.
3. Meetings with your doctors to discuss the extent of your injuries and your prognosis.
4. Review of your injuries and how it affects your job, recreational activities, lifestyle, and family.
An evaluation as to the dollar amount of your injuries cannot be made until you have either finished medical treatment and are back to your normal condition, or you’re continuing medical treatment and the doctor has given an opinion on your prognosis regarding these injuries.
Only after medical treatment is completed or the client’s condition stabilizes can an attorney begin the long process of putting a dollar figure on the claim so he can negotiate with the insurance company.
So next time I get a call from a person who says “I walked into a lawyer’s office and he told me my case was worth $100,000 and now he’s telling me to accept $10,000, what should I do?” My answer is “Next time, find yourself a more honest lawyer.”