Personal Injury Trial Columbus: Settle or Go to Trial?

As lawyers, we are fierce advocates for our clients.

We love litigating our clients’ cases, and we enjoy taking our clients’ cases to trial and getting fair results. When you are an advocate for your client, however, it can be easy to forget about the expenses of taking a client’s case to trial. It is imperative that, as trial attorneys, we thoroughly explain to our clients all of the financial costs associated with going to trial.

First Things First

The first thing that you need to discuss with your lawyer is the value of your claim (and all of the factors that they considered in arriving at their evaluation of your claim). At our firm, we always provide our clients with a range of value that we expect the insurance companies must pay to fairly value the claim. We have this discussion early in a case. A discussion about the value of a client’s case occurs when our client has completed treatment, the doctors have provided a clean bill of health, and the client is completely comfortable with taking the next step of resolving their claim. Our clients make their own choices as to when it is appropriate for them to resolve their claims. They lived through the incident, and it is their choice – not their lawyer’s choice. We do not ever rush a client. This is a client’s personal choice, and they need to feel comfortable making it.

In auto accidents, slip and fall incidents, and wrongful death cases, clients have two years in Ohio from the date of the incident in which they have to file a lawsuit (in the event that they are unable to resolve their claims with the insurance company). This time frame, called the Statute of Limitations, provides our clients with plenty of time to complete all of their treatment and ensure they have obtained a clean bill of health and are in a position to resolve their claims. A client should never prematurely resolve a case if still symptomatic and being treated. Once resolved, a client can never reopen a case. The insurance company will have them sign a written release and close the claim.

Valuing the Claim

After a client is prepared to resolve a claim, he or she must immediately schedule a time with legal counsel to understand the claim’s value. We always have this discussion with our clients after we have had an opportunity to summarize all records, bills, out-of-pocket expenses and losses related to a claim. We also carefully review all documentation provided by the medical providers relating to injuries and losses. We always provide our clients with a summary of jury verdicts in the county where the loss occurred, along with what their doctors have related to the incident. We also evaluate whether any pre-existing conditions or other medical factors affect how we value a claim.

When determining full, fair and just compensation for you, the following can be considered under Ohio law:

1) the nature and extent of the injuries and their effect on your physical health;

2) the nature and extent of your physical pain;

3) the nature and extent of your physical impairments;

4) your anxiety and stress that include all of your concerns about your injuries and pain including fears about future pain expected to occur;

5) a total or partial reduction in your activities that you enjoyed doing before the incident;

6) your inability to perform basic activities such as walking, climbing stairs, doing yard work, and caring for your pets;

7) humiliation caused by the incident;

8) loss of earnings;

9) hospital and medical expenses that resulted from your injures; and

10) if your injuries are permanent, any future medical expenses that resulted from the incident.

Your lawyer needs to thoroughly analyze all of the costs involved when obtaining an insurance company’s final settlement offer and compare those costs with all of the costs involved with taking your case to trial.

Costs of Trial

It normally costs at least $3,000 to $4,000 per doctor to prepare your doctor, pay for the costs of scheduling your doctor’s testimony, pay for the court reporter’s time to transcribe the doctor’s testimony, and pay the videographer to videotape your doctor’s testimony. (Most doctors will not want to come to your trial to testify live on your behalf.)

When we take the sworn testimony of the negligent Defendant, we also have to pay for additional costs to the court reporter to transcribe the Defendant’s testimony. The cost of the court reporter’s time is usually between $50 and $80. If we need to order the transcript of the negligent Defendant’s testimony, the cost of the transcript will vary depending on the length of testimony (it’s usually within several hundred dollars).

Personal Injury Trial Columbus

Considering a personal injury trial claim in Columbus, Ohio? Our firm is here to help represent your needs. Contact us for more information.

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