One of the most important things a personal injury attorney does is to give informed advice to his or her client. In the arena of injury based litigation, it is probable that the most important advice given concerns whether or not to accept an offer of settlement or take the case to trial. This advice, in turn, is dependent upon the attorney's assessment of a fair range of value for the personal injury claim. A function of any successful personal injury lawyer is to assess or assign their valuation analysis an opinion to a case, and then present this claim to an insurance company or defendant. This process is sometimes calling submitting a "demand for settlement." If a lawyer is able to achieve a fair financial recovery for his or her client through negotiation, and the client is happy with the compensation- great. If not, then litigation, and asking a jury to determine fair value are the next step.
A lawyer's understanding of a fair range of value for a case, whether in the context of a pre-suit demand or in a closing argument to a jury, is vital.
There is no single component that a good accident lawyer uses in determining fair value for a case. Rather, the skilled injury attorney utilizes a variety of factors in his or her analysis and ideally also brings years of experience in evaluating similar matters into the mix. A seasoned personal injury attorney will examine a variety of factors including:
- lost wages incurred in the past due to the injury, as those as well as those that might be reasonably be incurred in the future, if there is what is known as a diminution of earning capacity or if the injured person is completely disabled
- the amount of medical expenses incurred today are taken into account as well as those medical expenses which in a physician's opinion might be in the future due to injuries sustained in the accident
- where a case is to be tried, verdicts handed down in similar cases in that jurisdiction are an important facet of the analysis.
The law also allows for recovery for less tangible aspects of a personal injury. Things included here are pain, suffering, emotional and physical turmoil and anguish, and inconvenience, as well as disfigurement or scarring or humiliation and embarrassment in an appropriate case.