Who Should Tell You What Your Injury Claim is Worth?
Here’s a hint: It’s not your mother’s sister’s cousin’s father’s former roommate.
I get this ALL the time: I think my case should be worth $X! So and so says I should at least get $X!
Let’s say I go into a doctor’s office and it turns out I have diabetes. But I tell the doc that my treatment should be 700mg of Tylenol BID. The doc might humor me and ask, “Why do you think that?” My response is, “Because that’s just what I think.” The doc might continue this line of inquiry…”But on what basis do you think this is a safe and effective treatment for your particular condition?” My response is, “Well, I just think that’s what I should do. It’s not based on any experience, education, or training in the field of medicine. It’s just what I think.” That’s not really a good basis for making treatment recommendations, is it?
It’s very normal to want your case to be worth a certain figure. But pulling that figure arbitrarily out of the air, based on nothing but desire, isn’t the best way to make a business decision. And that’s what this is: Choosing to settle v. choosing to litigate is based on a cost/benefit analysis. It’s a little on the growl-y side, but I tell clients all the time that while I take their opinion into consideration when considering outcome goals, their opinion is absolutely valueless when it comes to what a jury will do because you can’t be on your own jury. Conversely, while a very small minority of my clients might throw it to the wind, my opinion is formulated on having been trained to do this job and having done this job for over 20 years now. I try not to take it personally when clients tell me that’s nothing in comparison to what they want their case to be, or what their uncle who’s a corporate attorney in Minnesota thinks it should be.
The moral of the story is if you really want to know what your case is worth, talk to an injury attorney with experience in the field, who knows the facts of your case in and out. Even then, their opinion isn’t set in stone, but it has far more likelihood of being accurate than some nonsense someone you know just made up.
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