Many clients come in and ask two questions:
- Number one, how long is it going to take this case to get to trial?
- Number two, what’s my case worth?
What’s my lawsuit worth?
If any attorney answers that question in the initial interview then the attorney is simply trying to give you a number to impress you, without really knowing anything about the case at all. I really can’t tell you the exact value of a case until we’re almost ready for trial. I need to know:
- Everything that’s in the hospital records
- What my experts have to tell me my strengths and weaknesses are
- What the other side is. Who are their experts? What do they have to say?
Only after the whole litigation process is done, will I be able to you what your case is worth or what is the value of your case.
One thing we do on every single case, that case is prepared for trial. I know a lot of lawyers, they’ll prepare a case for settlement purposes, or settlement negotiations. No, your case in my office is prepared for trial. If we don’t like the offers that are made, we simply turn to our adversary, the judge and say “pick a jury, bring the jury in, we’re ready to go.”
Because right in the beginning we hire experts who are specialists in their field, they know their field probably better than anybody else, and they are willing to walk into a court on behalf of a patient who has been injured and testify against another physician. So we gather the records, we gather the experts, we take the depositions, and we wait for the court to give us a trial date. If the insurance company or my adversary wants to talk to us about settlement, we’ll talk.
If they don’t want to talk to us about settlement, we are ready to go to trial. Now the difference is, in this state, every county has a different trial calendar. So if I’m in Essex County, I know Essex County will take me two and a half three years from the date I file the lawsuit to get to the top of the trial list. Hudson County, on the other hand, could take you 18 to 24 months. Union County, it could be 12 to 18 months. Every county is different. The work has to be done, in advance, knowing what’s going on in every county, so you’re ready to try that case.