How much a client “thinks” their case is worth and how much it is “really” worth are usually two completely different things. At some point in a client’s case, usually after they have finished treating with their doctor, we arrange a time to speak with the client to come up with a settlement figure that will make the client happy. Usually the conversation goes something like this:
Attorney: Mr. Smith, we have investigated the facts of your claim, gathered all your medical records, verified your lost wages, consulted with your doctors, allowed for pain and suffering and other damages, and we are ready to send a demand to the insurance company to see if we can settle your claim.
Client: Ok, great, this has been very hard on me and my family and I am ready to put this behind me.
Attorney: I understand. We reviewed everything and we have valued your case at $125,000 dollars. As you know, attorney fees and expenses will have to come out of that amount, and we must reimburse your medical insurance company for the amount they have already paid. Does that amount sound good to you?
Now at this point, the conversation can go in a couple different directions:
Client: Wow, I that is great. I trust your judgment. Please let me know if the insurance company will accept our demand.
Attorney: Great, I will certainly try to get you the maximum amount we can, but I need your authority to accept anything of $125,000 or more. Do I have that authority?
Client: Wow, I think my case is worth $1,000,000 (a million bucks).
Attorney: Well Mr. Smith, I want you to be realistic here. I understand you want as much as you can get, but we have worked many cases like yours in the past, and we can expect to settle this case or get a jury verdict in the $125,000 range.
Part of any good car wreck attorney’s job is to give their clients a fair and reasonable estimate of how much the claim is worth. What’s my car wreck case worth? A lot of this depends on economic factors such as how much medical bills and expenses the client has incurred, how much time off work the client missed, the client’s property damage, and out of pocket expenses. Economic damages are the easiest to calculate because we are working with hard numbers. However, any injury victim who has been harmed is also entitled to receive compensation for pain and suffering. These types of damages are not so easy to calculate because it’s difficult to put a dollar figure on how much pain a person felt and how much suffering they endured. Furthermore, pain and suffering is unique to each person as everyone has a different level of tolerance.
Every claim is simply not worth a “million bucks” so car wreck attorneys like myself have to use our experience and best judgment to come up with a demand number. Some other external factors help guide us. For example, we will get a list of recent jury verdicts in the area where the accident happened, and look for similar cases to get a good idea of what a similar jury may likely award in our client’s case. Another thing a good car wreck lawyer will look at is how favorable the venue is. Some counties are a good venue and some are bad and simply award lower verdicts – sometimes way less.
Other things a car wreck lawyer may consider when calculating the value of a client’s claim is the facts surrounding the accident. For example, was the client any part at fault for the accident? Where do witnesses that can testify and support the client’s claim live? How much insurance coverage does the at fault party have? The answer to these questions differs from one case to the next, and the answers can either strengthen or weaken a car wreck case.
At the end of the day, it’s about trust. A car wreck client has hired their lawyer to not only work their case properly, but to advise them as to its reasonable value. If the client cannot trust their lawyer to fairly estimate the value of their claim, the relationship breaks down and neither party will be happy. Similarly, if the client has unreasonable expectations, then it is up to the attorney to advise the client accordingly.
Pepper & Odom law firm offers free initial consultations to personal injury victims. You can call 601-914-9219 to discuss your claim. Pepper & Odom – At Your Service! https://pepperodom.com