What To Expect: Valuing Your Lawsuit

Certainly the most common question we are asked is, "What is my lawsuit worth?" No attorney can tell you during your initial conference what your lawsuit is worth. We can, however, offer you some insight:

  • The cases you read about in the paper are generally important exceptions to money awards in lawsuits. If these cases weren't "different" (either very low or very high,) then the media wouldn't be interested in them.

  • No two lawsuits are exactly the same. Just because another person settled for a certain amount or was awarded a certain amount by a jury doesn't mean that you should or can recover the same amount.

  • Most people who file lawsuits do not get every penny they want or every penny they deserve. Since the harm done to you is personal, no amount of money can make it "right" for you. Nevertheless, it is wise to keep your expectations realistic. Ask your attorney to review with you jury verdicts and settlements for claimants with injuries similar to yours.

  • The "worth" of your case can be determined in several ways - by mediation, by trial by a jury, or through pre-suit settlement. In other words, the "worth" of your case is the amount you are willing to settle for (pre-suit or in mediation) or the amount that the jury decides that its worth.

  • If we enter settlement negotiations or mediation for you, your lawyer will advise you about each offer you receive. This advice is given based on knowledge of the facts of your case (both for you and against you) and based on the lawyer's knowledge and experience. Since settlement negotiations and mediation will not occur until much later in your case, when all the facts are known, we will not give you an opinion on the "worth" of your lawsuit until we have researched all the facts and the applicable law. Instead, we will advise you of the strength or weakness of the lawsuit.

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