How much will I get for my case? This question is one of the more common questions we get from clients either before, or shortly after, they have hired us to represent them.  Most accident victims have little or no experience with the legal system generally, and personal injury claims specifically.

Often times, their understanding and expectations of personal injury claims are based upon what they’ve seen in the media, or upon second or even third hand anecdotal stories.  They might have seen an article in the newspaper about someone suing for a million dollars over a relatively minor injury, or heard about a neighbor’s cousin getting a big settlement after their accident.

Unfortunately, the perceptions created by these outside sources have a profound effect on how most accident victims view their own case.  These perceptions can often lead to incorrect and unreasonable assumptions about the value of their injury claim, which can set the client up for inevitable unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the entire process.

So, how much is my case worth?  Well, in the real world, the value of a personal injury claim is dependent on a myriad of factors which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Whether there is clear fault (negligence) on the part of another party;

  • Whether the claimant was also at fault (and to what degree);

  • The nature and extent of the injuries;

  • Whether the injuries are “permanent”;

  • Whether your doctor is willing to support your claim with reports and testimony;

  • The age of the claimant;

  • The amount of medical bills incurred because of the injury;

  • The amount of liability insurance coverage available;

  • Whether there is a third party (health insurance, no-fault) that has paid for some of the medical bills and has a legal right to reimbursement;

  • Whether you have prior injuries to the same area of your injury;

  • Whether you suffered wage or income loss because of your injuries;

  • Whether you will continue to suffer wage or income loss in the future;

  • Whether you have scars or other physical disfigurement;

  • Whether the insurance company believes you will be a likeable and believable witness;

  • If the case goes to trial, the makeup of the jury; and

  • What other juries have awarded in similar cases.

Before making any settlement offers, insurance companies will evaluate all these factors, as well as many others.  While not weighted equally, each factor plays its own crucial role in determining the value of a case.  When there is a news report about a large settlement or verdict, often there is little or no accompanying information about these factors and how they affected the case.

Without knowing all of the factors of a particular case, it is nearly impossible to equate it to another case. While cases may be similar, that does not mean that they are the same. Thus, we caution all accident victims to withhold expectations of windfalls or large settlements until their case has been thoroughly investigated and vetted by an experienced personal injury attorney.  If you have been in an accident, give the experienced attorneys at Nelson Personal Injury a call at (800) 497-8888 for a free discussion about the facts of your case.