Jury Research to Determine Settlement Value of Personal Injury Litigation
So you are probably asking yourself at this point how the lawyers and insurance adjusters figure your settlement limit. While the personal injury lawyer relies on his or her experience in similar cases, and on the opinion of other personal injury attorneys to gauge the maximum settlement value of a case, there are some tools available as well.
Jury research can also be performed to determine what juries have awarded in similar cases. Jury verdicts set the market rate for settlements. Thus, if the average jury award for torn knee cartilage with two surgeries and a guarded prognosis is $175,000, it is likely that the insurance company ultimately will offer an amount close to this to settle such a case, provided they believe your lawyer is experienced and competent and the rest of the case is solid. The company will begin by offering much less, hoping to buy its way out of the lawsuit as cheaply as possible. If your lawyer realizes the true value of the case, he or she will hold out until the offer reaches or closely approaches $175,000.
Some lawyers use publications to help them determine the value of a personal injury case. These publications provide case studies describing lawsuits and their outcomes. They can be particularly useful for the lawyer who is handling an unusual case.
One organization, Jury Verdict Research, provides a verdict finder service to attorneys and insurance companies. This service provides information on comparable cases to help the lawyer or insurance company assess the settlement value of the case. You can contact Jury Verdict Research at 800-341-7874.
Similarly, Jury Verdict Review and Analysis describes lawsuits and their outcomes. You can reach the publication at 973-376-9002. Unfortunately, neither of these services may be available to unrepresented individuals. If you are represented, you might suggest that your lawyer use one of these services. Do not forget, though, that ultimately you will be responsible for the cost of this service. However, if your losses and damages were either extensive or unusual in some respect, it may be worth the expense.
If your attorney has not handled similar cases in the past, an accurate assessment of the value of the case may call for the assistance of personal injury attorneys who may have handled similar cases to get a better handle on the case.