What is a case worth?

It has become common to see various personal injury lawyers on television commercials advertising that they can tell you what you case is worth. What these commercials don’t explain, however, is that properly and thoroughly evaluating the potential damages in a personal injury suit takes a lot of work and does not happen in one sitting.

Unless a lawyer has done the hard work of gathering all of the relevant information and considering that information, their opinion about your case’s worth is questionable.  Those documents include any investigation materials about the incident, your medical records and medical bills, and sometimes conducting legal research into issues that are unique to your case.  What this means for many clients is they will not leave their first meeting with a lawyer knowing how much their case is truly worth, but instead meeting and discussing the facts of their case several times, and providing the lawyer with as much information as possible about the case.  This is the way a lawyer can make an objective evaluation of your case, and you can understand why they have reached that evaluation.  In fact, because taking a case involves a decision about whether the case would be worth pursuing, many lawyers will want as much information as possible before taking your case.  If a lawyer tells you they have evaluated your case in one visit, think about whether they have done a thorough investigation into your situation.

Some lawyers may tell you that you have a great case, but they do not have the time to accept your case, and will refer you to other lawyers.  If a lawyer tells you this, think about whether the lawyer has sufficient information to determine whether your case is “great” or whether the lawyer simply does not wish to take your case, for any number of reasons.

If you are meeting with an attorney to determine whether you have a valuable case or not, be prepared to wait while they research and investigate. Do not expect to hear good (or bad) news right away.  The value of a lawyer’s opinion is directly related to the amount of investigation they do to support their evaluation.

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