I have a gripe with my current lawyer. Kind of at a loss. I understand they know best, but.. I have a pending civil personal injury lawsuit involving casino security asaulting me a few years ago. It is near trial date, and I just received and email from my lawyer stating how my medical bills only total $XX,XXX (Under 50k) and how I could "possibly" get around $150,000 with punitive damages but not guaranteed, which is understandable. But my lawyer tells me that is the max I would receive at trial if everything goes my way. I do not agree with my lawyer, and I emailed back asking but have yet to receive an answer so I am on here trying to get some sort of insight. My gripe is..I am not only suing for medical costs. I am also suing for a slew of other things including false imprisonment, negligence, negligent hiring, assault, battery, tresspass to chattels, emotional distress, intentional infliction to cause harm, breach of contract, defemation.. With all that why is my lawyer saying I could "possibly" get only $150,000 with punitive damages. I am not only suing for my medical costs..??? Why is my lawyer not factoring in these other complaints that we made in the complaint letter for my personal injury lawsuit?
1 Answer from Attorneys
I really don't think anyone here could answer your question with any certainty. Without a thorough review of all your medical records, the details of your pain and suffering, as well as the various other categories of damages you list, nobody could begin to guess what your case is likely to be worth to a Washoe County jury. A key component in a case like yours would be the egregiousness of the security officers' conduct and the degree of lack of management and supervision. I certainly hope you retained skilled counsel to represent you, and I think it important that you place your trust in his judgment about the valuation of your claims.
In the modern world, for a plaintiff to reach an out-of-court settlement in excess of 3x medical bills is pretty darned good in the absence of broken bones, joint dislocations, sever lacerations or closed head trauma. You don't mention psycho-therapy or long-term counseling or pharmaceuticals to deal with severe emotional trauma. We cannot guess what your injuries consisted of, what medical therapies you have undergone, or how much work and social life you have lost as a result of the incident. Neither can we assess how blameworthy the defendants are, or whether you contributed in some fashion to your own injuries.
It sounds to me that you need to have a heart-to-heart with your attorney to figure out what went into his calculation of the value of your suit. If you do not find him credible or you have some additional info to share to further enlighten him about your damages, by all means present that and make your case about your case! You need to be candid and honest with your lawyer if you expect him to fully understand how you feel. Don't assume he knows all the facts as well as you do (I am sure you are not his only client and he cannot possibly retain every fact about every file he is working), and don't just conclude that he is basing his decision on full information if you discover he has overlooked something. Sit down and talk! Remember, his license in Nevada says "Attorney and COUNSELOR At Law." Give him opportunity to counsel you about your case and fill in any blanks you detect he may have in data about you, your injuries, the defendants' conduct and all the damages you have suffered.