How does a Baltimore personal injury lawyer value a personal injury or auto accident case?
Clients frequently ask in an initial interview “what is the value of my case?” I explain, it’s impossible for a Baltimore personal injury lawyer to tell you what the value of your case is until further into the process. There are so many factors that are involved in a Baltimore personal injury lawyer evaluating a personal injury or car accident case. Many of those factors are still unknown at the beginning of the case. Any Baltimore personal injury lawyer that tells you that he can value your case in your initial meeting or over the phone before he’s met you is basically lying to you because there really is no way to put a value in the case until all of the information is in. All of the necessary information is not usually available to your Baltimore personal injury lawyer until your treatment is complete and all of your medical bills, medical reports lost wages, police report and damage estimate and pictures are available.
Clients will say, ‘Well as a Baltimore personal injury lawyer you’ve handle cases like mine a hundreds of times surely you can tell me what it’s worth. However, every case is different. Every case has a different set of facts and law that apply. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer would be acting unfairly if a Baltimore personal injury lawyer made up some value just to appease a new client. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer should treat each case separately and not lump it together with every other case he has ever handled. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer will treat your case as if it is the only case he has. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer will make sure your case gets all of the attention and work necessary so that you receive all of the money you deserve.
What are the factors that make this a complicated process? Factors a Baltimore personal injury lawyer need to consider include: 1) who is the client? Is the client male or female? How far did client go in school? Does client have a criminal record? Anything in your back round that appears to reflect on you in a negative way, will affect the value of the case. Whenever you’re asking a judge or jury for money, a Baltimore personal injury lawyer must present your case in such a way that the jury likes you. Juries only reward people they like. If the jury doesn’t like you will be less likely to award you anything. If the jury likes you, then they’re going to take care of you.
It’s important, when you testify to make a good presentation and a good first impression. A Baltimore personal injury victim should dress well, answer questions cooperatively, not give the other lawyer hard time, not get into an argument with anybody, and not refuse to answer any questions, because when you do any of the above, you can negatively affect the value of the case. In litigation cases where you give a deposition, do not violate any of the above rules even though you are not in court yet. If you give the other lawyer a hard time, then the lawyer will discount the value of your case, hoping to take you in front of a jury that he believes will not like you. Again, if the jury does not like you, likely it will award little or no money. So, it’s extremely important at all times that you put on your best face, that you give a good deposition. Anytime you have any interaction with the other side, including giving a statement to the insurance company or at a deposition, or a pretrial conference, a client should dress appropriately and appear as a knowledgeable person who’s aware of the facts and who in front of the jury’s will make a good impression.
The second factor that a Baltimore personal injury lawyer always consider when evaluating a case for settlement is, ‘what type of injuries do you have?’ Did you have any broken bones? Did you have any cuts? Did you have any bruises? Did you have any other visible signs of injuries? Did you have any x-rays that showed a broken bone? Did you get an MRI that showed a herniated disc or were all of those tests normal. Are there any physical signs of injuries like cuts, bruises, blood, or broken bones? To a Baltimore personal injury lawyer those cases are worth more than if you have any physical signs of injuries like cuts, bruises, blood, or broken bones. It’s a lot easier for a Baltimore personal injury lawyer to prove that you were actually injured.
Unfortunately, in a personal injury or car accident trial, juries tend to be very skeptical of the people that are making claims. The job of a Baltimore personal injury lawyer is to overcome that skepticism with overwhelming evidence indicating that you are injured. So objective signs of injury, meaning where we can actually prove that you were injured from a document or from a MRI or test or pictures showing the injury, is a lot more effective than you just complaining, ‘my neck or back hurts.’
Most personal injury or car accident cases are neck or back injuries where there are no objective meaning actual signs of injury like an x-ray showing an injury or a broken bone. In order to prove these injuries a Baltimore personal injury lawyer has to rely on the medical records. Sometime the examination by the doctor can show objective signs of injury like a muscle spasm, or a limited range of motion meaning you can’t bend as far.
Juries are more skeptical in cases where all of the tests are normal except the personal injury victim or car accident victim is complaining it hurts and they are unable to do a certain activity. These are known as subjective complaints because you cannot prove them with some test. Subjective complaints only as opposed to objective testing showing actual injuries, effect the value of the case.
The length of treatment can affect the value of the case. Normally, the longer your treatment lasts, the more your case should be worth because when we’re asking for pain and suffering if your pain and suffering only lasted a week then obviously that case should not be worth as much as when your treatment and therefore pain lasted for three months.
On the other hand if the accident appears relatively minor and there is not a lot of damage to your car, all the medical tests are normal and all you’re doing is complaining about your neck and back, your treatment has lasted for four years and you missed three months of work, that will significantly reduce the value of your case because it will be easy for a good defense attorney to portray your case as exaggeration. So while length of treatment is important if you have a fractured bone or surgery,, it is less important if you have a minor injury
The next factor that can affect the value of the case is how much damage there is to your car. Why is that? The insurance industry has become very good at arguing that the amount of damage to your car directly reflects on whether someone’s injured or not. Their argument is, ‘Hey, judge look at these pictures. Hey jury look at these pictures. There’s hardly any damage here. I only see a scratch. There’s a small dent here. But this person’s got $10,000 in medical treatment and treated for six months. This doesn’t seem consistent with the damage to the car in this particular case.’ They argue no one can be injured in an accident with so little damage to the car. That argument can be very persuasive and therefore affects the value of your case.
The only way for a Baltimore personal injury lawyer to combat the property damage argument is to explain the following to the judge or jury: When a car dents or better yet crumbles from an impact, the person is less likely to be injured because all of the energy created by the impact of the two cars has been used to damage the car. The car accepts all of the energy and dissipates the energy by damaging the car. In an accident with little or no damage, since the energy was not used up to damage the car, the energy is transferred to the people in the car which results in injuries to the people rather than the car. That’s why cars are not made like tanks. Car manufacturers can make cars that would have less damage in a car accident, but that would increase injuries, not prevent them. The job of a Baltimore personal injury lawyer is to explain this to a judge and jury. If successful, you get a fair verdict. But more often than not those pictures with little or no damage are very persuasive.
The next factor that affects the value of your case is, where did the accident take place. Why does that matter? Well judges and juries are very different depending on where they’re from. In Maryland, judges and juries, let’s say in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County, tend to be a lot more liberal than some of the juries in the Western Maryland or on the Eastern shore. You’re just dealing with different people either as judges or juries. Their feelings on the value of money or people filing claims can vary compared to people who live in the city. While one jury may think a thousand dollars is a lot of money another juror may think that that ten thousand dollars is nothing. It typically runs by county or areas of the state. So if your accident happened in Baltimore city or Prince Georges County, a Baltimore personal injury lawyer knows with the same injuries, same property damage, and everything is the same except where it happened the case will be worth more money in those two jurisdictions then it would be worth in the rest of the State of Maryland. I’m sure that’s true in every state. So where the accident happened matters
It also matters who’s hearing the case. So certain judges give more money than other judges. Certain juries give more money than other juries. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer knows what judge is hearing your case of a certain day will affect the value of the case.
The next factor that can affect the value of the case is whether you ever had another claim before. If you’ve never had another claim that’s extremely helpful. Juries tend to not like personal injury claims and auto accident claims. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer knows that when trying a case before a judge or jury, there’s a presumption that the client is not really injured in the case. The job of a Baltimore personal injury lawyer is to overcome that presumption and prove that we’re the exception, this person is not faking it, that they were actually injured in the accident.
What significantly affects that perception is prior injuries. If you never made a prior injury claim before the judge or jury is more likely to believe you were injured in the accident, than if you had 10 other claims. Once you start having more than one or two claims, judges and juries start wondering what’s going on. Juries think, ‘I’ve never been involved in a claim. Why is this person had 10 claims? Either juries think you are a bad driver and they’ll blame the accident on you even when you’re not at fault or the jury will conclude every time you’re in an accident you run to the doctor. Jurors wonder, You know, I’ve was in an accident once, and I never ran to the doctor. Why does this person keep having repeated accidents and then run to the doctor and always try to get money out of the case. So the more accidents you have even though they’re not your fault the more likely that is to affect the value of the case.
The next factor that affects the value of the case is whether you have a criminal record. While client’s reaction is always, what does that have to do with this case it shouldn’t matter, in real life it often matters plenty. While, all the jury should look at is what happened in the case, that isn’t the way human nature works. If client has a conviction for armed robbery, murder or any other crime jurors are less likely to feel sorry for that person and award them substantial money than if the person has no prior criminal record.
The age of the client can affect the value the case. The sex of the client can affect the value of the case. Whether someone’s very attractive can affect the value of the case. Juries look at all of these factors.
Are there pictures of scarring, bruising or blood? Pictures affect the value of the case. If you have an ugly scar obviously the case is worth a lot more than if there’s nothing there. If you have pictures from around the time of the accident that showed bruising, scarring, blood, car totaled, etc, those things are going to affect the value of the case. Just reading about those issues without actually seeing pictures will severely affect the value of the case. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is proven in valuing a personal injury claim Those pictures can be worth two, or three times what the case would normally be worth just because you have those pictures, because they can have an impact on the jury.
Whether you missed any time from work is important. So if it’s a serious accident and you missed a lot of time from work, that supports your story. Sometimes, if you didn’t miss work and you have a serious accident that may make you look more credible because you did your best to go back. However, the defense lawyer may argue, ‘Well if you are hurt so badly why were you working?’
The next factor that affects the value of the case is whether your testimony is consistent with the medical records. If it is, great. If it isn’t, then that’s going to affect the value of the case. Your Baltimore personal injury lawyer has the job of looking at all of medical records as they are accumulated to make sure that your medical history both before the accident and as a result of the accident is consistent. If there are discrepancies or inconsistencies these will be pointed out to a judge and jury and be presented a your effort to exaggerate or make up your injuries.
Other factors that are considered in evaluating your claim are medical expenses in the past and projecting into the future, your lost wages in the past and the future, how it affected your marriage if you’re married, also known as the loss of consortium claim in Maryland , and finally pain and suffering.The jury or judge can award for any of those or none of those. So if you’ve had medical treatment but they don’t like the doctors you went to or if juies think the treatment was excessive or if you didn’t keep your appointments meaning you were supposed to go to therapy three times a week but you only went once every other week, that’s going to affect the value of your case.
As a Baltimore personal injury lawyer, I have to look at all those factors in order to evaluate the case. Once a Baltimore personal injury lawyer considers all of those factors as well as others, the Baltimore personal injury lawyer will put a value on the case based upon the Baltimore personal injury lawyer experiences. Meaning, while this may be your first accident it’s obviously not the Baltimore personal injury lawyer first experience. A good Baltimore personal injury lawyer has been doing this for at least 35 years. While a Baltimore personal injury lawyer has not tried every one of those 35 years’ worth of the cases, a Baltimore personal injury lawyer tried many of them. And when a Baltimore personal injury lawyer tried some of those cases, a Baltimore personal injury lawyer will know after they’re over what kind of results received. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer, then will get a chance to talk to the jury and find out what affected their decisions.
In addition, a Baltimore personal injury lawyer has settled thousands of cases over the years, and a Baltimore personal injury lawyer will know what insurance companies pay for and what they won’t pay for. So that based upon trial experience and experience in settling cases a Baltimore personal injury lawyer know what they can get out of the case and what they can’t get out of a case. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer knows what the insurance companies look at, what the adjusters look at, and therefore the Baltimore personal injury lawyer has to look at those same factors.
After considering all of these factors, a Baltimore personal injury lawyer will then have a plan. A Baltimore personal injury lawyer will then submit a demand to the insurance company with a demand letter with an explanation of all of these factors that justify the demand. And then the parties will negotiate. If the parties can’t reach a figure that seems fair to a Baltimore personal injury lawyer, the Baltimore personal injury lawyer will take the unsatisfactory figure back to the client and ultimately seek a client’s decision as to whether that offer’s acceptable or not. If it’s not acceptable than the case will be tried in front of either a judge or jury. Then the judge or jury will decide what the value of the case is.