If you have been involved in an accident recently, from slip & fall accident to a car accident, boat accident or anything else, you might be contemplating filing a lawsuit against the person or business responsible. Your aim is to ensure justice prevails, and the parties at fault are held accountable for their careless acts. However, the biggest endeavor for any personal injury victim is having the negligent party accept fault and make up for the damages incurred. Often, victims rely on insurance companies for their valuation of their case’s worth, but sadly, insurance companies are business entities just like your favorite retail store. Their main objective is to make or save money, and their goals are not always aligned with your interests.
How the Insurance Company Treats Your Claim
Normally, you would expect that your insurance company will take into account every detail regarding your accident, the severity of injuries, and total amount of harm caused. It is their responsibility to truly and accurately value your case based on the repercussions of the accident towards you, your property, or any other party affected therein. Whether past, present or future effects, all these damages must be factored in when calculating the settlement offered by your insurance adjuster. However, it’s not always rosy when dealing with these companies. Some will take advantage of your lack and knowledge of the claims process, and try to evade their responsibility towards you by offering a low settlement. In such a case, contacting a personal injury lawyer is the best option left for you.
By hiring the services of a personal injury lawyer, you are simply asking a professional to evaluate your case to determine if he or she can “add value” to your claim. Adding value occurs when you, the victim, receive more money in the end (even after attorneys fees are taken out) than you would have if you handled the claim yourself. If the insurance company offers you a low settlement, your attorney can use the court system, through a judge or jury, to compel the insurance company to pay the proper valuation of your damages. This is done through filing a formal civil lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries. Unlike other cases which can be solved quickly and routinely, settlements in an injury case follow a thorough court process. Therefore, the amount of time taken to resolve the dispute varies based on a number of factors.
For many victims in personal injury cases, the biggest question in their mind revolves around the total worth of their cases, and the possible amount of money they would receive should the court rule on their behalf. While there is no distinct or set standard value for such cases, it is much easier to make an evaluation based on the total value of damages you incurred. However, a value is never guaranteed until the judge or jury decides so.
How Will My Settlement Value be Calculated?
There are many ways that the jury may arrive at a common figure. Often, the jury will take into account the total medical costs incurred and total value of the damaged property. The rest of the calculation may be carried out through a common multiplier of the total treatment costs in order to reach estimates of non-monetary damages such as pain and suffering. The result is then added to the monetary damages (lost income, medical bills or property damage) to get the total amount you are bound to receive. These kinds of estimates on pain and suffering are often a large part of negotiation with the insurance company. Other factors may also be considered, including:
- Type of Injury (Soft Tissue, Fracture, Herniation)
- Gaps in Treatment
- If Future Treatment is Needed
- Which Jurisdiction the Case Will Be Filed
- Pictures of the Property Damage
The above mathematical calculation cannot be used to generally quantify the exact amount owed to you. This is because personal injury claims are not simplified enough to be narrowed down to a common calculation or formula. On the same note, the severity of injuries and their effects play a pivotal role in determining the amount you receive. For example, a farmer who suffers from a broken wrist may fail to go to work, meaning that their monetary value will be increased compared to a Customer Service agent who suffers the same. This is simply because the agent can continue their work duties as usual, despite the broken wrist, while the farmer cannot. Therefore, having a personal injury lawyer who is experienced with settlement valuation will help you understand every aspect put in place when calculating the total worth of your settlement.
Personal injuries are not only life-threatening but also life-changing. You may be emotionally and financially drained, and your friends and family may need to support you. However, getting the right legal team to represent you can help restore your confidence that you will be compensated for the damages wrongfully brought upon you. Call our office today for a free consultation for your case.