The most common question that gets asked in any Illinois personal injury lawsuit is, “What is my case worth?” I get it. People want to know how they will be compensated for the pain and agony they’ve gone through.
Most cases just aren’t worth that much. There are two reasons for that. The first is that your injuries are small. If you get hit by a car and need a month of physical therapy, that case has value, but not much. In other cases you might have significant damages, but if there is only $50,000.00 worth of insurance out there, that’s likely all you will get.
In some cases though there is a really significant injury or death and there is large or unlimited insurance because the defendant is a corporation or some other entity that is heavily insured. Think of a situation like an airplane crash or if a CTA bus driver ran a red light. A major airline or the City of Chicago can pay out any award made by a jury.
So how do you get a multi-million dollar settlement or trial verdict. There are a bunch of factors, some obvious and others not so obvious.
- Big damages. As discussed, you can get hit by a drunk driving bus driver, but if your injuries are small, the value of the case is small.
- Strong liability. You might become paralyzed during a surgery, but if you can’t prove it was due to medical negligence, the chances of recovery aren’t great.
- Who your lawyer is. This ultimately becomes the biggest factor. There’s a reason why a handful of law firms in Illinois get the biggest results year in and year out. And there are so many reasons why a case is worth more in the hands of certain lawyers than it is in others.
- These lawyers have a track record of success, so the insurance company assumes a bigger potential loss which increases room to negotiate.
- These firms know how to properly investigate cases. If you are in a truck crash or industrial accident, it’s important to have the scene examined ASAP. They’ve done this many times before and have experts on call to get the job done. This initial work can ultimately be the difference of millions of dollars in the end.
- They know how to find hidden insurance. Many trucking companies operate shell companies in order to make it appear as if their trucks are small companies when really they are a subsidiary of a much larger company. Inexperienced lawyers might tell you that there is only a $1 million insurance policy when in fact there is ten times that out there.
- They have trial skills for bigger cases. If there is a catastrophic injury it often is a complex case which could mean a two week or more trial as lots of experts will need to testify. That is way different than handling a car accident trial that lasts a day.
- They have money to finance these cases. Getting experts costs money. Creating videos that show what a victim’s life is like now cost money. Those things are investments in your case in order to greatly increase the value of your case. But they aren’t cheap. It’s not unusual for a lawyer to spend $300,000.00 of their own money with no guarantee of a payback if you don’t win. Firms that haven’t won these cases many times before can’t afford to do that. The ones that can make your case worth more money.
- They know the best experts. The best experts want to work with the best firms. All of this increases your case value.
- They are able to turn down a large offer when they know your case is worth more. $5 million is a huge case result. But if the case is really worth $10 million, settling for five would be a bad idea. Some lawyers can’t risk losing the fee they’d get from a $5 million case and won’t have the guts to tell you to not take it. An experienced, successful lawyer will only act in your best interests even if settling would still get them a great fee.
The point to take away is that if your case could be worth millions, there are about ten firms in Illinois where having them makes the case worth significantly more than if you get a less reputable law firm. If you would like our recommendation as to the best Illinois personal injury law firm for you, please contact us for free at 312-346-5320. We help with legal advice and attorney referrals everywhere in Illinois.