How A Personal Injury Consultation Can Help You
The idea that a respected, longtime practitioner in any professional discipline would be willing to dispense the knowledge gleaned through years of experience – for free- on request is almost unheard of in many professions. However, the practice has become commonplace for lawyers, and in particular personal injury lawyers. Many lawyers and firms that handle injury claims offer a “free consultation” to their prospective clients as a matter of course. But, just because seemingly everyone is doing it, does that mean it is an offering of little or no value to your personal injury claim? Attorney Eric T. Kirk is well prepared to explain how a personal injury consultation can help you after you’ve sustained an injury.
One of the most significant and important roles of a personal injury lawyer is to provide his or her client with an intelligent and accurate assessment of the value of their case. In other words, how much is the claim likely to return to the injured person in real terms: money. How much are they going to get? Meaningful value assessments are not a specific dollar figure, rather, an experienced, veteran personal injury attorney will provide a range of expected outcomes to his or her client. Said another way, “if the insurance company is negotiating in good faith, we would expect them to ultimately make an offer to you in the range of “__$”.
On the other hand, if the case is in litigation, the well-versed, personal injury attorney will advise his or her client in that jurisdiction, or in front of this judge, the expected outcome would be in the range of “__$”. This prediction, of course, takes into consideration countless variables, such as the nature and extent of the injury, as well as that lawyer’s own personal experience in dealing with a specific insurance company or having cases tried in a specific jurisdiction, or in front of a specific judge. This is really at the core of why someone who has retained a personal injury lawyer pays for – a prediction of what their case is worth.
The injured person needs to know that to assess whether they want to accept a settlement offer or take their chances with litigation. The injured person needs to have an intelligent assessment of the value of their case when they decide whether or not they wish to take a case to trial rather than accept a last-minute offer made on the courthouse steps. The assessment of the value or worth of a personal injury case is the product of the analysis of each unique factual component of the case. Examples of the things considered here would be: the nature and extent of injury; cause of the collision; the degree of fault, the degree of any contributory negligence; the amount of the medical bills; the amount of lost wages; the venue of the case.
These variables are juxtaposed with that attorney’s own unique experience with an insurance company, with a specific court, in a specific jurisdiction, within a specific state. It is vital to realize that such an assessment is only appropriate after all of these events have transpired and all of the data it is available. Such an assessment is never possible immediately after the personal injury-causing event, as the data necessary to make the prediction is not yet available. It is not a reasonable expectation that as the result of a personal injury consultation occurring in the hours or days after the potential client will leave the consultation knowing what they are likely to receive in compensation.