I get a lot of calls and emails asking me what a case might be worth. Here’s one I got recently (some info changed to protect their identity):
Hello, I’m trying to estimate a potential settlement amount for my work injury. I have 2 herniated disc L4,L5. that caused lower back pain and effects my sciatica. right leg, and foot.
Spine Dr wants to give me an epidural injection, but I may hold off on that. I make around 100k a year and am getting paid for my time off of work. What do you think my case is worth? I’ve been in the same job for 37 years.
This was my response:
There is no honest way to tell you what it’s worth right now. That’s for a few reasons:
1. We don’t know what your ultimate recovery will be. If you have any restrictions, that will greatly affect what the case is worth.
2. We don’t know what additional care you might need.
3. We don’t know what defenses they might raise.
4. Don’t know your age.
5. Don’t know your work history.
6. Don’t know your goals.
7. Don’t know if you’ll need future medical care.
Bottom line is that some lawyers will throw out a number in hopes that you sign with them. We don’t do that as we want to always be honest. That said, they don’t have to offer anything, and United is a company that often doesn’t offer settlements for man-as-a-whole injuries (reason why requires a longer explanation), and when they do, it’s often to people they ask to retire, or they lowball you.
You’ll never get less with a lawyer (even with a 20% fee) than without one. If they make you an offer before getting an attorney, you’ll have a very hard time getting a lawyer to take the case if you know it’s worth much more. If you have restrictions that they disagree with, the range of the settlement or trial value could be in the six figures.
These types of questions are okay to ask, but we don’t give these opinions without seeing someone’s medical records and having a free consultation with them. That will cause many people not to want to go forward with us because there are plenty of lawyers out there who will tell you what you want to hear even if they know it’s not true. By that I mean there is one firm in Chicago that will tell people something like, “If you sign with us, we can get you at least $100,000 for your injury.” They are making up that number and when the case ends up being worth $20,000, they say, “Oh well.”
If you’d like a free consultation with an experienced attorney, you can call us any time at 312-346-5578.