In a vast amount of my personal injury consultations, many prospective clients always ask: what is my case worth?
Routinely, my response is “if I had a dollar for every time I could provide you with the answer you desire, I would be Bill Gates rich.” Unfortunately, to the prospective clients’ dismay, I’m never able provide the answer they are seeking. Nonetheless, generally, after I provide an in-detail explanation of why it’s impossible to give the prospective clients the answer they desire, I find that it adds a sense of peace to their minds.
It is impractical to complete a full and accurate assessment of a potential claim’s value at the time of the consultation. If there is an attorney with this capability, I would like to speak to him immediately in an effort to learn how. This skillset would be akin to a superpower in the personal injury world.
Historically, the first statement I make to a prospective client during the consultation is “every case is different and to ascertain the value at this moment is premature.” Although cliché, the statement nonetheless remains true in fact. It remains true for a variety of reasons. First, the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits are typically unknown. Second, and more importantly, the nature and the extent of the prospective client’s injuries are unknown. Generally, at the time of the consultation, there has been no comprehensive diagnosis(es), prognosis(es) or completed medical regimen. These are all essential aspects of personal injury cases when ascertaining the case value. Not to mention, at the time of the consultation, the hidden challenges are commonly undetermined. Some of the challenges include the prospective client’s pre-existing history and medical records, the nature and extent of property damage, prospective client’s compliance with treating physicians, the adverse insurance carrier, etc.
After providing an explanation of why no two (2) personal injury cases are the same, it is also common for the prospective client to juxtapose his/her case to that of a friend or family member who might have been in a past collision and received a certain settlement. This can be a dangerous mental state to possess given the reasons stated overhead as each and every personal injury case has its own distinctions and variations.
In sum, as mentioned above, it is impossible to discover the true value of a personal injury case at the time of the consultation. However, as the case proceeds, and the client’s medical condition(s) become better known and concrete, the task of assigning a particular value to the case is easier.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of another’s negligence, please give Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen a call at (702) 505-8115 to discuss your personal injury case.