We frequently receive phone calls on this topic. Naturally people want to know the value of their claim. Unfortunately, this can be an extremely difficult question to answer.

The real value of any case is the amount a jury awards you at trial. The difficult part is trying to determine the value of a case prior to trial so that a decision can be made whether to settle with the insurance company or to let a jury decide the amount. In order to evaluate a case, attorneys use their experience in handling these claims and their knowledge of what juries in the locality have awarded in similar cases in the past. The tough part is that no two cases are alike. Just because your co-workers great aunt once removed allegedly received a big settlement for her claim, does not mean you will also receive a large settlement or jury verdict.

Many factors are taken into consideration when evaluating the value of a personal injury claim, including but not limited to:

– how severe was the wreck
– can the defendant present evidence to demonstrate that you may have been partly at fault
– the amount of medical expenses
– present and future lost income
– the severity of your injury
– how your injury affects your quality of life
– have your activities been limited
– have you experienced difficulty performing your job because of your injuries
– are your injuries permanent
– do you have scarring or permanent disfigurement
– are your injuries new, or old injuries that were aggravated by the wreck
– were you hospitalized
– was surgery, physical therapy or other medical procedures necessary
– will your witnesses make good impression on the jury
– how long did you experience pain, suffering, and inconvenience

What is important to remember is that the insurance company is not required to settle a claim, or to offer a fair settlement. And attorneys simply can’t force the insurance company to pay a fair amount for the case. What attorneys can do is assemble all the evidence and prepare the client and the case for trial. If the insurance company believes the attorney and the client are ready to try the case, and that there is a likelihood that the jury will return a verdict for a sum of money greater than the company wants to pay, then there is a very good chance that the case will settle prior to trial.