Calculating The Value of Your Personal Injury Claim

There are many variables that impact the value of your personal injury claim.   It is not possible for a good personal injury attorney to provide you reliable information about on how much money you have a right to recover early on in the process. And good Idaho personal injury lawyers do not pretend they can.

If you have run across an online personal injury damages calculator you should take whatever it reports to you with a grain of salt: A LARGE grain of salt. The same is true of the lawyer who tells you the value of the case in your first meeting or over the phone.

A good injury lawyer will tell you “I don’t know and I can’t know what your damages case is worth until I have spent the time to learn all aspects of your case.”  There are many things that have to be evaluated and balanced.  Every situation, every claim, every case includes unique issues that impact the ultimate case value. We’ve said it before and will say it again: There is no chart, no graph, no formula and no calculation that provides you the immediate value of your injury case.  All the best injury lawyers in Idaho would only evaluate a case value after considering the more intangible factors of that case.

Numerous Variables that Come into Play When Valuing an Injury Claim

Of course, in all cases there are some things that are pretty straight-forward: legitimate medical expenses, necessary lost income and the like. Some other things that seem to make sense also impact the injury case value.  Other things that can impact your claim value include things like:

  1.      The nature of the defendant’s actions- Was it mere negligence, or was it recklessness or worse;
  2.      Your actions—did you contribute to the injury causing event in any way or were you completely innocent;
  3.      Your medical history—Do you have any record at all of related types of injuries, etc.

There are also some things that might surprise you.

Your Medical Records Can Have a Variety of Impacts On The Value Of Your Personal Injury Claim

One factor that often impacts a case’s value that you have little control over are the actual medical records related to your care. What doctors say in consultation with you and what they write down often differs. There can also be errors that reflect in the record. In an injury case for the most part the records are viewed by the insurance company and/or the jury as true—no matter how wrong they might be.

Another aspect of the medical records is the quality of the information. A solid chart note that contains a comprehensive narrative from a respected treating doctor provides the best support for a case. Fill in the blank reports that have been used for other patients with just your name added in, illegible scribbling or medical reports that are inconsistent with the billings can hurt your case. Sometimes doctors don’t understand the difference between possibility and a probability because those terms are used somewhat differently in law and medicine. So the language used by the doctor can impact your case.

Juror’s Biases Can Impact Your Case Value

We talk about jurors because either they would be the ultimate deciders about the case.  Insurance companies, and plaintiff’s lawyers, assesses what a jury would likely do when evaluating your case.

The science tells us the severity of a collision is not a very good predictor of the severity of an injury. But in the real world of a courtroom juror’s care. Their “common sense” tell them it does.

If you were involved in an auto accident where you sustained a serious connective tissue or whiplash injury while your car had little more than a scratch you will have a problem to deal with.   The average juror walks into court believing that people cannot be seriously injured in minor impact collisions. For these people, the worse your car looks the more your case might be worth. As experienced Idaho injury attorneys we can persuade these jurors sometimes with experts and photographic evidence but it is a practical problem.

Your Personality, or Likeability, Matters Too

Four things come together for a case to have a stellar outcome: 1. A Good Good-Guy, 2. A Bad Bad-Guy, 3. A little good luck and 4. hard work.

Are You a Good Good-Guy?

If your initial interactions with the defendant or her insurance company were unpleasant you may already have a likeability issue. If you have a “prickly” personality this can hurt your case. Jurors and claims adjuster treat people they like better than people they don’t like. If they like the defendant better than you, she has a leg up on you.

Is There a Bad Bad-Guy?

While bad defendants exist, usually we deal with “good” defendants who made a bad decision or a person wasn’t paying attention when he should have. A good defendant will negatively impact the value of your claim. One thing we have learned over the years is that jurors tend to identify with defendants not injured people in personal injury litigation.

Other Issues Of Personality Matter Too.

This likeability factor applies to your witnesses too. If there is a fight about who is at fault, having a good witness who has no other connection to you can be a key in maximizing a claim’s value. If your best witness is your spouse who was in the passenger seat or other family member that can create credibility issues. Similarly if your treating doctor will offer testimony about your injuries, treatment, and prognosis you are better off than if you have to hire an expert for trial.

And the Insurance company’s “personality “can matter as well. It is also true that different insurance companies have different approaches to resolving claims. The larger national companies are very corporate in approach and have a hard time dealing with local differences. Their failure to understand the nuances of local law can both be a headache and an opportunity. They are also far more willing to be tight-fisted and force excessive litigation on any particular case than some of the smaller market players.

Ultimately, Injury Case Valuation is a Complex Art

In addition to these issues other things unique to your particular situation, will have an impact on what your case is worth. To make sure your claim is properly handled and work to resolution in the best way for your circumstances, you need to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on board. Those of us who work within this system have the knowledge and tools to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your case. We know how to consider and evaluate how these factors impact the value of your personal injury claim.

One of the things you get when you hire a personal injury lawyer is someone to help you make an informed decision about how best to resolve your claim.   We have worked with, and helped, injured Idahoans for many decades,

Call text of email us, we are here to help you.

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