Car accident lawyer gives Real truth to car accident settlement


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you have legal questions, the lawyer has the answers.

 Welcome today, so how do you determine the worth of a case?

you know how when somebody said somebody says how much is my case worth, I want you to talk about not only the medical stuff but also pain and suffering, and what goes into your evaluation of what the case is worth assuming that you have, no insurance limitations.

and sometimes that there are no limitations or reasonable limitations when a commercial entity instead of a private person is at fault like if a trash truck hits you.

you don’t have to worry about running out of insurance money, but I tell first of all I don’t talk about money with my clients at the outset, I charge a lower contingency fee if I’m going to resolve things by just writing letters,  that goes up a little bit if we have to go to court, but I tell my clients all the time that a case is either worth what a claims adjuster will pay you or what a jury will award you, and both of those things are just very uncertain and they vary from claims adjuster to the claims adjuster, so there is no magic formula, so a lawyer that tells you oh you’ve got this much in medical bills, it’s five times that amount that’s how much you’re gonna get.

anybody who talks money at the very beginning and starts filling your head with expectations I don’t think is doing the right thing that’s my opinion, but the way you value a case, you have to look at a bunch of factors you have to look at the total medical bills, and that even that’s confusing thanks to changes promulgated by our legislature over the years.

juries now know more than they used to, juries now know how much your initial medical bills were like you might go in and have it and the medical bill for that is $10,000, but your insurance company, your health insurance company may have negotiated a rate for $200 for that MRI.

well, guess what the jury knows about both of those numbers, and so medical bills alone don’t do the trick because amounts of medical bills are misleading and don’t paint a full picture,

the degree to which your quality of life has been impacted is the biggest piece of the puzzle, and there’s I think two halves to that one is your ability to earn a living, you know if you do manual labor for a living and you’ve been injured in such a way where you can’t do the job that you’ve done for 10 20 or 30 years, that’s a big deal and you have to hire an economist to come in and look at what’s called your work-life expectancy the amount of money you would have earned from the date of the accident until your date of retirement, and calculate what the present value of that future lost income is.

but sometimes it’s not as complicated and you’ve just missed three months of work and we have your w-2s, and we have your pay stubs, and we have an obvious gap of where you’ve missed out on work, but your wage loss is a big piece of how the accident has impacted you, but there’s also an emotional impact, and that emotional impact can vary from person to person, but if you’re if your back is injured and you can’t roughhouse with your toddler anymore if you’re a runner and you can’t go for a jog anymore because there’s something wrong with your knee after the accident or cosmetic things.

you know I represented a woman who didn’t have a lot in the way of medical bills, but glass lacerated her face in multiple places and she has scars on her forehead and under her eye, and she’s got to look at that every day for the rest of her life,  and so she didn’t have a significant amount of medical bills, but the emotional impact of that scarring made a big deal or was a big deal.

and then the other piece of the puzzle is the impact that a serious accident can have on your relationship, if you are married in Missouri, your spouse has the right to also make a claim against the at-fault driver for something called loss of consortium, which is an allegation that hey you hurting my spouse has impacted our relationship, we can’t go on walks together, we can’t go on vacation together, our intimacy has been impacted, all of those things come into play.

and so I hate to give like a really sort of wishy-washy answer, but you don’t know what the worth of a case is until you have looked under every stone with respect to the things that I’m talking about, so I’m not one of those people that thinks oh you only have ten thousand dollars in medical bills, well your case then is only going to be worth twenty thousand dollars, like you can have minimal medical bills and a huge loss of your quality of life.

and then similarly I’ve represented people who have a forty thousand dollars in medical bills, but it was all diagnostic and those tests were all negative and the person looks fine seems fine, and so their case might not settle for as much as somebody with fewer medical bills, so they’re just to oversimplify it and put it into some kind of formula, and I think that’s unwise on the part of a lawyer.


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