There are myths out there in the field of personal injury law, both with lawyers and with the public in general. When you are injured in some type of accident, you have a legal right to seek and obtain fair compensation from the person or company that was negligent in causing you harm. Sometimes the only negligent person was yourself, in which you have no
personal injury claim. But when there is legal liability against another, you can
hire a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation from that party and its liability insurance carrier.
So what is your claim worth? Friends or research on the internet may lead you to conflicting conclusions. To obtain accurate advice on what an injury claim is valued at, you must contact an experienced
Missouri injury lawyer and run your set of facts through him/her. First and foremost, there is no magical formula for what your claim will be worth. There are no equations and or guidance in this area, with the exception to workers' compensaton laws, but we are not talking about workers compensation settlements in this post, merely injury claims arising from
motor vehicle accidents, slip & falls, products liability, etc.
There is bad advice out there that all injury claims are valued at 3X medical. This misconception is formulated as follows (3 x Medical Bills = Settlement). This formula has no real basis in practice, at least not in our Missouri injury law practice. Each claim is individual and value is based on hundreds of factors, not just the injury. Just a sampling of examples that affect value include: Are there aggravating circumstances to the accident (ie: prior traffic convictions, cellphone use, etc), what is the venue of the case (ie: which jurisdiction will the case be heard), potential future medical complications (ie: requires testimony from treating physicians), prior injuries to same body parts (ie:
prior accidents injuring the same body parts, prior surgeries, etc), and much more.
Don't even let anyone tell you that your injury claim is worth 3x your medical expenses. That's just bad legal advice and if you rely on it, you will be shortchanging yourself. What is 100% true is that each personal injury lawsuit and claim for compensation is unique and has its own "settlement formula." As an injury victim, you have but 1 opportunity to obtain maximum value for your case. If your injury attorney fails to take in ALL of the factors that affect value, you will end up victimized for a second time. Contacting the
best injury lawyer in Missouri from the start is key to obtaining fair value for your case.
Author Stephen Schultz is a personal injury lawyer and director of one of the most prestigious injury law firms in Missouri. His law practice has offices in St. Louis, Chicago, and Bentonville, AR. His lawyers are recognized for their ability to obtain
maximum settlement value for clients and top verdicts when the cases need to go to trial. Mr. Schultz can be contacted at (314) 448-0934.