How Much Is the Case Worth?
The single most asked question, usually at the first conference with the client , is, “how much is the case worth?” The question especially at the initial conference is unanswerable. There are too many factors which have to be looked at before we can begin to evaluate the case. Unfortunately, these factors may not make themselves known until the eve of trial. Factors to be identified and weighed in determining the value of the case are: liability, whose fault was the accident and how much of the fault can be put at the feet of the plaintiff? Damages how profound are the damages and which are permanent? Age and pre-accident health of plaintiff. The life expectancy of the plaintiff is a necessary factor in determining the extent of permanency of an injury and the value of the case. There is a significant difference in value for a person whose life expectancy is 30 years as compared to 3 years. Plaintiff/Defendant the ability of the parties, their demeanor and the evaluation of their ability to be a good trial witness are also a significant factor. Skill and reputation of counsel, add to this would be the reputation of the insurance carrier standing behind the defendant. Are they more prone to settle or do they fight to the end? Coverage, how much insurance coverage does the defendant have? The larger the amount of coverage the more exposure the carrier has. The greater the exposure the better the opportunity to settle. Assume for example that the plaintiff has catastrophic injuries, but the insurance coverage is only $25,000. This is a no brainer and the carrier will put up the full amount of the policy, but does the defendant have personal assets which are attachable? What if there is $100,000 in insurance? Does the insurance carrier care if it goes to trial and takes a chance on your losing the case? It’s a business decision for them and a tactical decision for your attorney.
Additional steps of filing a New York civil lawsuit.
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