Why can’t you tell me what my claim is worth at a first meeting?

MKF Lawyers

Why can’t you tell me what my claim is worth at a first meeting?



Why can’t you tell me what my claim is worth at a first meeting?


Why can’t you tell me what my claim is worth at a first meeting?

One of the first matters a prospective client should think about is ‘is it worth me making a claim’? While there may be other reasons for making a compensation claim, the reason is normally for compensatory damages (compensation for loss and damage caused by the injury). It is normally the amount of compensation that can be achieved that makes pursing a claim worthwhile.

Why is it then that most lawyers are unprepared to provide a prediction as to the value of a claim at an initial meeting?

The answer is that assessing how a Court would approach the quantum of a claim (amount of compensation to award) is a task that can only be performed when a significant amount of information is available and once the injuries are medically stable. That is because the assessment of damages is very prescriptive. If liability is established and an injury is found, a Judge would then need to consider matters such as:

  • Did the injured person contribute to the event causing injury or the worsening of the injury itself? (that may result in the Judge needing to make a reduction to the award of damages).
  • Is there a barrier to awarding particular heads of damage (types of compensation)? (in the motor vehicle accident system there are thresholds that apply to awarding some of the heads of damages).
  • Does the injured person have any capacity to do any type of work? If so, what does that mean for the injured person’s ability to earn money into the future.
  • Does the injured person have any capacity to do their housework and gardening? If so, what is the extent of that capacity?
  • Is there an intervening event that means that the effect of the injury on the injured person’s pain and suffering or work capacity is insignificant?
  • Has the injured person taken steps to minimise the losses caused by their injuries during the course of the claim?
  • Does the injured person have other health conditions that need to be taken into account for their work capacity and/or their capacity to perform housework and gardening?
  • What is the injured person’s life expectancy? Do the injuries, or unrelated health conditions, have an effect on the injured person’s life capacity?
  • How speculative is the future for the injured person?

Further, the injured person’s injuries, health or life circumstances may change during the course of a claim (from the time of the initial meeting to the resolution of the claim), which may have a significant bearing on the assessment of damages.

While we aren’t able to provide a clear guide as to the likely compensation award at a first meeting, when sufficient information comes to hand, we provide that guidance. We can however tell you whether a claim is likely to be worthwhile or not, based on our extensive experience. We will be frank and honest with you, and not tell you a claim seems viable unless we think there is reasonable cause to suspect that is the case.

If you wish to discuss making a personal injury compensation claim with one of our Adelaide Lawyers, contact the team at MKF Lawyers by telephone on 08 7093 2998, text message on 0482 075 591, email at info@mkflawyers.com.au or submit an online enquiry at www.mkflawyers.com.au/freeclaimcheck