People often ask me to tell them what I think their personal injury or car, motorcycle or truck accident case is worth. I have to explain to them the many variables that go into answering this most important question.
One of the first things I find need to find out is how much insurance is available. For example, if a personal injury case is worth $100,000 but there is only $10,000 available in insurance coverage, then the case is more than likely only worth $10,000, because that is probably all they are going to get.
On the other hand, if they have $250,000 worth of insurance coverage, but have minor injuries with no surgery, their case will usually be worth much less than $250,000.
An accident/injury lawyer experienced in navigating the accident insurance world knows how to weigh all the factors discussed in this article and the many more factors before making recommendations and the more experienced the lawyer, the better they will be at discovering all possible insurance coverages.
Beware: Unless you are in the business of evaluating and settling cases for a living you should look to an experienced personal injury attorney for guidance!
When deciding what a case is worth, insurance companies, judges and jurors consider factors such as:
- Who was at fault?
- How much damage was done to the vehicles involved in the crash?
- How serious are the injuries to the person making the claim?
- If the injured person was not wearing a seat belt, could their injuries have been prevented by seat belt use?
- How much are the person’s medical bills?
- How many of those bills were paid by insurance?
- Does the injured party have to repay the insurance company that paid their medical bills?
- What out of pocket expense does the injured party have?
- Did the person have surgery; how serious was the surgery; what was the outcome of the surgery and how much did it cost?
- How much are the projected future medical bills going to be?
- Is there any surgery recommended by the doctor but not yet preformed and what will it cost?
- Did the person lose any income because of the accident?
- What will be the projected loss of future income?
- Did the person have any prior or preexisting medical conditions that were clearly not caused by this crash?
- How does the person present themselves: likeable, truthful, and have they done everything to help themselves recover from their injuries, etc.
- Who are the parties on the opposite side that you are bringing the case against?
- Was the injured person married and, if so, how was the spouse affected by the injuries?
- In a wrongful death case, who are the “survivors”, according to Florida law, and how were they affected by the death, both emotionally and economically?
These are just some of the factors that go into determining what a personal injury or wrongful death case is worth. In addition to all the factors mentioned so far, there are many strategies employed by the insurance companies to settle cases for less than full value. You can read this library article for common insurance adjuster’s tactics to take advantage of accident victims.
My Recommendation to You: If you have what may be a serious injury, it helps to get legal advice from an experienced accident lawyer early on to avoid making a mistake.
It is usually wise to wait until you have recovered as much as possible from your injuries (maximum medical improvement or MMI) before you try to determine the actual value of your case and negotiate a settlement. However, this does not mean you should wait to hire an experienced personal injury attorney until you reach MMI as this may take months or years to achieve, and by then it would then be too late. You can only settle your case one time, so it is important to have a clear idea of what your case is worth before final settlement negotiations.
Remember: Initial consultations are free with most personal injury lawyers, so take advantage of them and find out if you have a case or not and whether it is worth pursuing. My advice is to do this as soon as possible so evidence is not lost and mistakes made that can forever change the course of your accident case. I also suggest you read my book, The Seven Biggest Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case, based on my 37 years of helping accident victims in North Florida including Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City and Inverness. You can contact my office for your free copy or download it on this site.
Hello, I am Jeffrey Meldon. As an accident attorney, I strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of an accident or in the recovery from one.
My Office and Associates are located in Gainesville, Florida. We are Personal Injury Attorneys (Accident Lawyers). I take pride in my work and the results that I and my experienced team of Associates and Staff get for our clients.
Everyone in my Office works hard to help accident victims get the justice and the fair settlement or jury verdict that they deserve throughout the North and Central Florida area including: Ocala, Marion County, Alachua County, Lake City, Citrus County, Daytona Beach, and Inverness. I am highly involved with every case in my office and am the negotiator with insurance companies.
You can feel free to give me a call at 1 800 373 8000 or contact my office, with any questions you may have, or to discuss your unique case.
Consultations and Case Evaluations are always Free