How much is my case worth?
One of the first questions often asked by someone who has been injured in an accident is, “what is my case worth?” The only way to offer a valid opinion on this subject is to investigate the facts, review medical records and bills, find out if the injured person has permanent injuries, and check to see how much insurance is available. Only at that point can a reasonable estimate be made.
The value of your case can only be determined after:
- The client has finished medical treatment
- All medical records have been reviewed
- All medical bills have been obtained
- All wage loss information has been received
- The treating physician has been consulted to see if the client’s injuries are permanent
- The facts surrounding the accident have been completely investigated to make sure someone else is responsible (negligence) and that the injured person did not contribute negligence to his accident
- The source of the collection, usually the other person’s insurance company, is determined
We understand it is tough being the victim of an accident because someone else was careless. It’s even worse when you don’t understand the law and the process of getting your claim resolved. However, there are some general guidelines to help you in this process.
What is liability?
Liability means fault. Who caused the accident? Did someone act with less care than was reasonable under the circumstances? If so, that’s negligence. Did the injured person contribute to the accident with their own negligence?
What damages am I entitled to?
Damages are the second necessary part of the Personal Injury trinity. If
you were in an accident but weren’t injured or didn’t sustain
any damage, you don’t have a claim. But if you have suffered an
injury, you are entitled to fair and adequate compensation. Strong lawyers
believe the value of damages is based upon what they believe a reasonable
jury would award as fair and adequate compensation. Some lawyers, unfortunately,
base value upon whatever the insurance company will offer—even if
it isn’t fair.
Generally, there are three types of damages:
- Economic losses to date: The primary past economic losses are expenses for medical care and lost wages.
- Future economic losses: These are usually expensed for future medical care and future loss of income.
- Past and future pain and suffering for the physical and mental anguish experienced: This is the most difficult area to prove. There are no books that juries are allowed to use to make this determination.
The question is, “what is the amount that a reasonable person take for these injuries?” Understandably, it can be impossible to place an exact dollar amount on pain, permanent disability, or disfigurement. Many insurance companies use a mathematical formula to figure how much should be paid for Personal Injury cases.
How do we evaluate your case?
We produce an extensive document that discusses the facts of your case in detail, as well as liability issues, your injuries, your treatment, your future prognosis, and our evaluation of these issues. We discuss all options available to you, ranging from settling with the insurance company to going to trial. We make sure you know what your choices are and the consequences associated with each choice.
After reviewing all pertinent information with you, and after gaining your approval, we then negotiate with the insurance company to receive a settlement offer. After a settlement offer is received, we talk with you and let you know how much money you will net (in your pocket) so you will have a chance to fairly evaluate your options.
This process continues until the insurance company submits what we believe is their best and final settlement offer. If you accept this final offer, money from your settlement is usually in your hands in approximately 30 days. If you decide not to settle, then we will move forward with litigation and let a jury decide the value of your case. We will do everything in our power to obtain the verdict you deserve.
Why do you need a lawyer?
If you have suffered an injury, you may feel overwhelmed or confused. Unfortunately, insurance companies are positioned to take advantage of this confusion and your desire to move on with your life. Insurance companies make profits by convincing you to settle for a fraction of what your case may be really worth. You have been hurt once through no fault of your own, so don’t get hurt again by the insurance company because you fail to get an experienced lawyer to help you.
What can you do to help me?
Too many people who have suffered an injury are too scared, intimidated, guilt-ridden, or otherwise reluctant to seek the help they need. Some have had bad experiences with other lawyers. Some have already been intimidated by the big company they’ve been dealing with. Some simply believe that it is wrong to bring a claim for personal injuries.
Caddell Reynolds Law Firm offers no pressure free initial case evaluations to give us a chance to evaluate your case and to give you a chance to evaluate you. We’ll talk about your Personal Injury, your legal rights, and any other questions you may have about your case.
We’ll also answer any questions you have about our legal experience, including cases that we have settled and tried before juries. During this interview, we hope to:
- Find a way to get you compensated for your injuries
- Find out if the big insurance company you are up against is withholding benefits you are entitled to or pressuring you to make a quick settlement
- See if you’ve been exposed to risks you may not know exist, the likes of which could spell disaster for you and your case
The case evaluation is free and, if you decide to hire Caddell Reynolds Law Firm, you also pay no hourly fees. We only get paid when we finish your case and recover money for you. Our clients are never required to pay an hourly fees. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we only get paid if you do. If there is no recovery, then there is no legal fee. Therefore, we have an incentive to devote ourselves to your case and fight for your rights to receive the kind of compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.
Lawyer Myths Exposed
If you’ve been injured in Arkansas, you normally only have one chance to get the compensation you deserve. Because of this, choosing a lawyer to take on this task for you will probably be one of the most important decisions you make in your lifetime. Consequently, exposing some commonly held myths about lawyers may help you make the right choice.
Myth #1: All lawyers have about the same amount of experience and training.
This is one of the biggest myths about lawyers. The fact is, the experience and training that lawyers have differs greatly from lawyer to lawyer. Some lawyers may have years and years of experience drafting wills and dealing with real estate transactions, but is that the type of lawyer you need to represent you in your Personal Injury case?
The law firm you hire for your injury case should have attorneys with a proven track record of negotiating and settling cases, as well as trying cases in front of juries and winning. You should know that many lawyers who handle large numbers of Personal Injury cases never take them to trial! Many lawyers prefer “out-of-court settlements” even if they are offered less than the case is worth primarily because they don’t have the skill or experience to take their cases to trial. You can bet that the big insurance companies know who these lawyers are and will take advantage of the situation. Big insurance companies, being what they are, will almost never offer what you deserve if they know your lawyer is not willing to take your case to trial.
Don’t be afraid to ask the lawyer you’re considering the tough questions: “How many cases has your law firm tried in front of a jury? How many have you won? How many years of experience have you had as a Personal Injury lawyer?” These are the kinds of questions you should ask any lawyer you evaluate and are questions Caddell Reynolds Law Firm would welcome the opportunity to answer. Remember, the legal profession is like any other profession when it comes to experience. When you need help, make sure it’s the best help available so that you can benefit from their experience and skill.
Myth #2: All lawyers are skilled negotiators.
Not always. Dealing with big corporations and insurance companies can be intimidating because they often have the resources of well-paid, savvy lawyers who are trained to be tough negotiators.
You need a lawyer on your side who knows these big companies’ weaknesses and who knows how to drive the hardest bargains – someone who has the experience earned through involvement in hundreds of negotiations involving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The fact is that most injury cases are settled out of court, which is where the negotiations take place. If you don’t have a lawyer who knows the art of smart and tough negotiating, you could be the one who loses.
Myth #3: All lawyers devote the necessary amount of time and energy needed for your case.
When you hire a lawyer he or she should have the resources needed to dedicate to your case, but that doesn’t always happen. Some lawyers have so many cases they hardly have the time to look at them, much less devote the hours necessary to negotiate a fair compensation. Some hardly ever talk to their clients.
Your case, no matter how big or small, is important and should be a priority for the lawyer you hire! You need an attorney who is committed to providing quality personal service to all of his or her clients, someone who will treat your case with the importance it deserves.