Oftentimes a client will ask me in an initial meeting “what's my case worth?” If the initial meeting is shortly after the accident happened, then any attorney who knows anything about personal injury will answer “I have no idea.”
There are generally three things that go into winning a personal injury case for a client. First, who was at fault, and how did the accident happen. Second, what are the injuries. Third, were the injuries caused by the accident.
For the fault part, attorneys will look at how the accident happened, and how much damage there was to the cars. Cases where there is minor damage to vehicles are usually more difficult and often result in smaller settlements than cases where the car was totaled.
For the injuries, attorneys need to know what type of injury the client had (broken leg or stubbed toe?), how long the treatment lasted, what type of treatment the client received (surgery or chiropractic adjustment?), how much the medical bills are and whether the bills have been paid.
For the causation part, attorneys need to know if the client had previous accidents or had previous medical issues with the parts of their body injured in the accident.
So when a client asks “what's my case worth”, without knowing the scope of the medical injuries it is impossible to answer the question. By the time the client finishes their medical treatment, the attorney will have a very good idea, but without knowing what the injuries are, how long the client will treat, and what the medical reports say, an attorney can't answer the question.