One of the most common questions that people hear and people raise for me or among themselves and their friends and family is…

“How much are you suing for?”

Everybody wants to know what somebody is suing for.

This age-old question is probably one of the most meaningless questions in the world.

Let me tell you why.

In most states, you are not allowed to include on your paperwork, and when you file your lawsuit, a request for what you are actually seeking to obtain.

Instead, by court rule such as in Pennsylvania, you either say that you are suing for “not in excess of $50,000,” or, that you are suing for “in excess of $50,000.”

Now in excess of $50,000 could be from $50,001 to $500,000 to $50 million.

There’s no top line on that.

But why do they make you say, “in excess of $50,000” or, “less than $50,000?”

It’s strictly a matter of scheduling the cases, and having jury trials as opposed to arbitration trials. Jury trials are held in the cases that are felt to be of greater seriousness, and they’re the ones that we have to identify as being worth in excess of $50,000.

Smaller cases, not quite as significant, legally, are the ones that we write, “not in excess of $50,000,” and they go to an arbitration panel consisting usually of three arbitrators appointed by the court to sit and act as judges and conduct a trial and make the decision on the case.

Now, that’s the true story about value of the case. We can’t even stand up and tell a jury at the end of the day, “I think my case is worth $20 million, and here is why.”

That’s impermissible under Pennsylvania law.

We, as trial lawyers, find ways around that so that we can, in a subtle manner, persuade the jury to award the millions of dollars that may be warranted, without specifically telling the jury to give us those millions.

There are lots of techniques that we use and over the years, you get to know and use most of them effectively.

If you’d like to talk about any aspect of a personal injury case, please give us a call any time at (610)265-8050.

We’re here to talk with you, and to help you.