AS A GEORGIA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER, I am often asked the question “what’s my case worth?” My answer most of the time is “I don’t know.”
My advice to you is not to rush to a conclusion when searching for an answer to this question. This is a process and it takes time. Sure I could settle your claim today, you could even settle your own claim today, and the insurance company would love to settle your claim today…but that would be a mistake. Regardless of what the adjuster tells you, the insurance company certainly does not know the value of your case during the early stages of your treatment, but they do know that the case will likely only increase in value as time goes on. That is why they are extremely motivated to resolve injury claims as soon as possible. In fact, some insurance companies even pay their adjusters bonuses to resolve claims early. I could tell you hundreds of heart breaking stories where unscrupulous insurance adjusters have knowingly settled claims early in the process for far less than the true value of the claim leaving the family on the hook for future medical expenses. One of the tricks the adjusters use is to say that they will agree to pay for all future medical treatment; however, if you read the fine print, they will only agree to pay for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses, and guess who decides what is reasonable and necessary…..that’s right, they do, not you or even your doctors!
The reality of it is that I am usually not in a position to properly evaluate a case until I have had an opportunity to analyze all the medical records, speak to the doctors, understand all of the injuries, determine what type of future care may be needed, determine the costs associated with the future care, determine the amount of lost wages incurred, and understand any future limitations or restrictions you may have. Once we can answer those questions, I will be in a position to answer your question of “what’s my case worth?”
Another factor that can drastically impact the value of the claim are the circumstances surrounding the wreck itself. How did the wreck happen and why? For example if the person that caused the wreck was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol this will significantly impact the value of the claim, sometimes this factor alone can change the value by as much as 10 times. Also, if the person that caused the wreck attempted to leave the scene of the accident, this too could justify an award of punitive damages which will certainly increase the value of the case. I tried a case in Fulton County in 2011 that resulted in a punitive damage award of $250,000.00 when the medical expenses were only $2,500.00. I am telling you this to illustrate the importance of considering all the factors before jumping to conclusions as to case value.
In the event that you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you will want to contact an attorney as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney will be able to thoroughly review your situation in order to build a strong case for your injury claim. Van Sant Law, is a skilled personal injury law firm that benefits from the experience of having represented both sides in such cases. Our legal team is comprised of former insurance defense attorneys who understand the nuances of the claim filing process, and we utilize this knowledge to maximize our clients’ chances of obtaining the compensation they deserve. Contact our offices if you have been hurt in an accident, and we will put our considerable resources to use in pursuing just compensation for you!