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How much is my claim worth?

Posted by attorney Justin Minton

This is by far the most common question I am asked. This is also the most difficult question to answer simply because the quantification of personal injury is not an exact science. In even the simplest of claims there are a multitude of variables to consider. Some of the most common are: the nature of the injury, facts of loss, age, sex, health, and the existence of any preexisting conditions-with the nature of the injury typically being the largest driver of value.

The attorney that you hire is also a huge driver of a claim’s value. Usually the value of a claim is a matter of opinion and the skill of the lawyer in persuading the insurance company and/or ultimately the jury that their assessment is right. An experienced personal injury attorney can effectively negotiate your case while also countering most of the arguments that an insurance company makes. For instance, if an injured plaintiff had an already existing back injury when they were involved in an accident, the insurance company will argue that that person was previously injured and that the accident caused them no further harm. However, Arkansas follows the “Eggshell Skull Rule." The “Eggshell Skull Rule" provides that a defendant takes his victim as he finds him and must pay damages accordingly. The Eggshell Skull Rule usually applies to plaintiffs who are unusually susceptible to certain injuries, and the rule would probably apply in the preexisting condition scenario discussed above.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are a multitude of others that I am intentionally leaving unmentioned. Volumes have been written on the subject, and I could go on for days. For simplicity purposes, suffice it to say that an accurate estimated value can only be arrived at after reviewing all medical reports, medical bills, police reports, and meeting with all potential parties. If someone tries to advise you as to how much your claim is worth before looking at any documentation, their estimate is probably not going to be very accurate. Accurately evaluating a personal injury claim takes the time and skill that only experienced personal injury attorneys possess.

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