If you’ve been injured at work or in an accident, you might be thinking about hiring a personal injury lawyer. And if you’re thinking about hiring a personal injury lawyer, you’re probably thinking about your potential case and its value. Some people believe the value of the case depends on how much their injuries have affected them or how much treatment they receive for their injuries, but this is only partly true.
A very important factor in determining the value of a personal injury case is determining the hard economic losses you have incurred -- those losses that can be quantified, such as medical expenses, travel expenses, and lost wages. These types of losses are typically documented and verifiable, and they indicate the severity of the injury. For example, if you broke your femur and were an in-patient in a hospital for three weeks, the bill might be $100,000. And you might be out of work for four to six months. If you strained your neck and got some physical therapy for a few months, your bills might add up to $2,000. Guess which case is probably more valuable, all other factors being equal?
Most people understand this. And in an attempt to increase the value of their case, some are tempted to receive unnecessary treatment, exaggerate symptoms, or make unbelievable claims about how their lives have been turned upside down.
To be sure, if you’re hurt, get the medical treatment you need. If the injury has made life difficult, don’t be afraid to express that. But if you want to maximize the value of your claim, the jury must see you as reasonable and honest. Thus, you should stop treatment when you feel better and go back to work when you’re able.
If the jury sees you as a person of integrity, you’re much more likely to receive fair compensation for your injury. And while an insurance company might not sympathize with you in the same way a jury of your peers might, honesty and integrity can go a long way there as well as your attorney negotiates for a settlement.