The worth of your injury claim is driven by the losses you incurred. There are many variables that impact the value of a claim. The reality is that it is not possible for a good injury attorney to provide you reliable information on what your case is worth early on in the case process. Good Idaho personal injury lawyers do not pretend they can. If you have run across an “online personal injury calculator” you should take whatever it tells 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 reputable injury lawyer will tell you “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 balanced. Every situation, every claim, every case includes unique issues that impact the ultimate case value. We’ve said it before: 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.
There are Many Variables that Come into Play When Deciding the Worth of Your Injury Claim
In all cases there are some things that are pretty straight-forward that impact case value. These include things like legitimate medical expenses, necessary lost income and the like. Some other things that make seem to make sense also impact the injury case value. 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. all can impact your case.
There are also some things that might surprise you
Your Medical Records Can have a Variety of Impacts On Your Case
One factor that often impacts a case’s value over which you have little control are the actual medical records. What doctors say in consultation with you and what they write down often differs. There can also be errors that reflect in the records, but 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. And these days with electronic medical records we see ever more errors in the documentation.
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 decide the case, or the insurance company 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 court room juror’s care about collision severity. Their “common sense” tells them it does matter. 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 t face this issue head-on.
Your 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
I often say there are 4 things you must have for a case to have a good outcome: 1. A Good Good Guy, 2. A Bad Bad Guy, 3. A little good luck and 4. simple hard work.
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.
While bad defendants exist, like drunk drivers for example, usually we deal with “good” defendants who made a bad decision. Most often the defendant is a person who was momentarily not 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 at times identify with defendants, not injured people, in personal injury litigation.
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. They often 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 insurance 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. Dealing with and understanding both the economic losses and compensable non economic, or loss of quality of life damages is central to your attorney’s role. 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 these factors. One of the things you get when you hire an 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 since 1952, Call us or text us we are happy to provide a complimentary case evaluation and initial review.