The honest answer is that Keller & Keller LLP will not be able to tell you how much your case is worth until we have done the following for you:
- Investigated the facts of your accident
- Firmly established liability
- Viewed medical records that document your treatment
"Why is it better to not know the value of my case immediately after the accident?"
If your case had a pre-determined value, then there would be no opportunity for us to present your claim to the insurance company based on the unique merits of your accident. By not allowing an experienced firm to examine your case from start to finish, the value of your claim can be severely compromised.
We understand that thoughts of immediate justice and a pile of hospital bills are likely on your mind. However, as time passes, clients soon become thankful that no one placed a price tag on their accident. Why is this?
- the client wasn't fully aware of their total injuries
- the client didn't forsee the type and/or duration of treatment their injuries required
- the client didn't anticipate the strain it would place on their personal life
- the client didn't account for the psychological toll it exacted from them
Let's look at a more specific scenario:
Client A is a young man in a small sedan that is rear-ended at a stop light. He has immediate complaints of pain to his neck and back. He does not go to the hospital until later that week. He is diagnosed with whiplash and a lumbar strain. The doctor prescribes pain medication and tells the patient to return to the doctor if he continues to experience discomfort.
Client B is also a young man in a pick-up truck that is rear-ended at a stop light. He also has immediate complaints of pain to his neck and back. He goes to the hospital by ambulance and is diagnosed with whiplash and a lumbar strain. The doctor prescribes pain medication and tells the patient to return to the doctor if he continues to experience discomfort.
Both of the young men are insured through State Farm, and the drivers that struck them were insured through Nationwide, and both suffered the same amount of property damage to their vehicles.
Despite everything we know about Clients A & B, their claims WILL have different values!
It is highly unlikely that clients A & B respond to treatment in the same positive manner, or experience the same types of aggravation and frustration in the days and months after their accident. Every accident and every injury has its own individual characteristics that will affect the ultimate value of the claim. Don't assume that because your uncle or neighbor was in an accident once and received a certain settlement that your case should be similar. Each case is different!
Someone told me I'll get three times my medicals. Is that true?
This formula is an estimate often thrown about in personal injury lore. Though it is true that you may receive three times your medical bills, it's also just as likely that you'll receive more or less. And while this answer does not provide dollars and cents, it is an honest answer, and one that will prove much more valuable to you while you recover from your injuries.
"What am I entitled to in a personal injury case?"
There are three components to any personal injury case:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Past and future pain, suffering, disfigurement, and disability
"Are there any instances in which Keller & Keller LLP can tell me how much my claim is worth?"
Accidents that leave a client with broken bones, the need for surgery, permanent hardware, or an extended hospital stay, may constitute a policy limit demand. In these types of cases, Keller & Keller LLP will immediately notify the responsible party's insurance company of our representation and require that they send our firm a certified declarations (DEC) sheet that outlines the specific coverages for their insured.
Once we receive a copy of the DEC sheet we will be able to tell you how much money is available, but it will still be very difficult to determine the total amount of your recovery, as other factors will undoubtedly be present. For instance, Keller & Keller LLP may be able to reduce certain medical bills so that you are not required to pay back the full amounts, thus increasing your settlement. We may also be able to secure Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UIM) from your policy in the event that the adverse's policy limits are inadequate.
"Will Keller & Keller LLP review an insurance policy for me?"
Yes, and asking Keller & Keller LLP to review an insurance policy ensures you aren't left in the dark. Policies are confusing, full of pages and pages of contractual language, some of which are applicable to your case, and some that aren't. And if you aren't in the practice of reviewing these policies every day, then reading one can be overwhelming, and interpreting it will be equally daunting.
"So how long will it take Keller & Keller LLP to determine the value of my case?"
This depends largely on when you finished treating your doctors. Submitting a demand to the insurance company without doctor bills totals and a thorough medical prognosis will give the insurance company the power to decrease the value of your claim.
We want to settle your claim as quickly as possible--we would rather have the money in your hands rather than in the bank account of some insurance company. But remember, settling a case before the extent of your injuries is known can be disastrous: Once a case is settled, it is settled. You cannot return to an insurance company months after a settlement claiming that the injury was worse than you previously thought. Once you sign the release, you have released the insurance company from any further obligation toward you.
Keller & Keller LLP will be very dependent upon your honesty and your doctor's professional assessment to help determine when to begin valuing your claim. Oftentimes, many months go by following an accident before any attempt is made at valuing a claim. This is because the injured party may still be recuperating or recovering from injuries. A case should not be settled until your doctor is able to state what the future probably holds for you. Will there be future medical expenses? Will there be additional surgery? Will there be a permanent disability as a result of the injuries? These are all things that your doctor must determine before Keller & Keller LLP can begin valuing your case.
Speaking with Keller & Keller LLP about your case is an excellent first step toward determining what your injury claim is worth. It costs nothing, there is no pressure, and you'll be receiving expert advice from an AV-rated firm that has ONLY practiced personal injury law since 1936.