“How much is my case worth?”
This is the most common question personal injury lawyers hear from potential clients. It’s only natural to want to know how much compensation you might receive after suffering an injury.
Your personal injury case will only settle for the amount you can convince the insurance company to provide. Unfortunately, no set formula or prediction calculator can determine how much your claim can recover. The one thing that can significantly increase the settlement you receive is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you.
Common Personal Injury Cases
Someone can receive a personal injury in many different ways. No matter what type of personal injury you sustain, what matters the most is whether negligence or intentional actions contributed to your injuries. If someone fails to take your safety seriously, you likely have a viable claim that a personal injury lawyer can help you with.
They can handle all types of personal injury cases, including:
- Motor vehicle collisions – Car crashes, including truck accidents and motorcycle wrecks, cause some of the most significant injuries. If the recklessness of another motorist caused your collision, you can receive compensation for your injuries.
- Medical malpractice – Understandably, doctors make mistakes just like everyone else. Still, when their mistakes can have been avoided by taking the proper precautions and causing severe harm, you can pursue compensation for your losses through a medical malpractice suit.
- Defective products – Product liability claims can include anything from pieces of plastic in a food item to an appliance that explodes when used by a consumer. Unfortunately, many people don’t know they can hold large corporations and manufacturers accountable if their defective products cause injuries.
- Premises liability – The premise liability law umbrella includes injuries caused by slip-and-fall accidents, dog bites, and many other injuries caused by hazardous conditions on the property. Suppose the property owner or caretaker does not address the conditions. In that case, you can file a personal injury claim to recover your damages.
- Construction accidents – If you received injuries at a construction site, you might have a claim for personal injury compensation. It is possible that a supervisor or foreman’s inclination to ignore safety rules and cut corners can have led to your accident.
Why You Can’t Rely on Insurance Companies After a Personal Injury
Insurance companies are often willing to provide some compensation for your injuries; however, more often than not, it is much less than what your injuries are worth.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Their goal is to pay you the least amount of money possible so that they can keep more money in their pockets. While this might make good business sense, it is often unethical and leaves injured victims without the compensation they are entitled to.
They often devalue or outright deny personal injury claims through:
Delays and Administrative Hurdles
Insurance companies may employ a strategy of deliberate delays and administrative hurdles to discourage claimants.
This tactic involves requesting excessive documentation, employing lengthy claim review processes, or repeatedly transferring the case to different departments. They aim to wear down claimants, hoping they will give up on pursuing their claims due to frustration or financial constraints.
Questioning the Severity of Injuries
Insurance companies often challenge the severity of an injury, asserting that it is not as severe as the claimant says it is. They may argue that the injury was pre-existing or unrelated to the accident, forcing the claimant to provide additional medical evidence to prove causation. The goal is to create doubt and devalue the claim, potentially reducing the compensation offered to the injured party.
Surveillance and Social Media Monitoring
In today’s digital age, insurance companies have increasingly turned to surveillance and social media monitoring to gather evidence against claimants. They may hire private investigators to observe claimants and capture activities that contradict the severity of the injuries.
Additionally, insurers meticulously scan social media profiles, looking for posts or pictures that may contradict the claimant’s statements. They can use this evidence to discredit the injured party’s credibility and minimize their claim.
Utilizing Lowball Settlement Offers
Insurance companies often employ lowball settlement offers as a negotiation strategy. They may make initial offers that significantly undervalue the claim, hoping the claimant will accept due to financial pressure or lack of awareness of its true worth.
By exploiting the vulnerabilities of claimants, insurance companies seek to minimize their financial liability and increase their own profits.
Considering all of this, consulting an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights throughout the claims process. Through legal representation, you can maximize your compensation and show the insurance company that you are serious about getting what you deserve for your injuries.
Insurance Company Valuations
Factors that can significantly impact the insurance company’s calculations for personal injury settlements include:
- Policy limits: If the ceiling of the insured’s policy is less than your damages, you will need to file a lawsuit against the negligent person for the difference.
- Inconsistent medical expenses: The insurance company will only pay for medical expenses that they feel are reasonable and necessary. If a personal injury medical provider inflates your medical bills with excessive tests and treatments, the adjuster can refuse to calculate your damages with them.
Compensable Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Your case’s value is determined in part by your injuries and damages. By hiring experienced personal injury lawyers, you will have an advocate to help you get through the insurance claims process and take further action against the liable party if it is warranted.
Depending on the specific circumstances of your case and the extent of your injuries, you can recover compensation for:
- Medical bills – It’s only fair for the party who caused your accident to pay your bills. Document all your injuries and their treatments with photos, bills, and medical records. These will help demonstrate that you aren’t inflating your injuries to increase your compensation.
- Future medical bills – Your injuries may take much longer to recover from than your legal claim itself. Accurately estimating the future costs of medical care, including medications, surgeries, physical therapies, and other treatments, presents inherent challenges that an experienced personal injury lawyer can overcome. Severe injuries may cost you thousands of dollars and impair or disable you for the rest of your life. You don’t want to leave yourself financially liable for future medical care.
- Loss of income – Most personal injury victims need some time off of work to physically recover from their injuries. Some require only a few days, while others may need months to return to work. It’s not your fault you cannot return to work immediately. As such, the liable party or their insurance company should compensate you accordingly. A highly experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve for your past income.
- Loss of future income – If your injuries are severe enough, you may be unable to retain your employment and continue working in the same field as before your accident. If your job requires heavy lifting, but you have a shoulder injury that will affect your physical abilities, you may lose this job. The liable party’s negligence caused your lost future income, and a lawyer can hold them accountable for it.
- Pain and suffering – This term usually refers to various damages an injured party suffers, including physical and emotional pain and suffering, any scarring or disfigurement they have, mental anguish or humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life. You deserve compensation for even these intangible damages. With a skilled personal injury attorney, you can get fair value for them.
- Loss of companionship – You can receive financial compensation for the loss of a loved one if another causes their injuries.
When determining how much your personal injury claim is worth, insurers (or the judge or jury assigned to your case) will account for:
- The severity of your injury
- How long will it take for you to recover
- If there is any lasting disability or disfigurement
- The total amount of your medical expenses
More severe and extensive injuries will typically result in more compensation.
Proving Your Desired Settlement
Once you and your attorney determine the value of your personal injury claim, the next step is for your personal injury attorney to establish that:
- The person they insured owed you a duty of care or had an obligation not to harm you
- That person breached their duty to you and was negligent or even intentional in their actions
- Their negligence or other actions directly caused your injuries
- Your injuries caused your damages for which the insured is liable for
Establishing these critical points is done by providing photographs of your injuries or the accident, witness statements, medical records, supporting documentation and bills, and other pieces of evidence.
Your personal injury attorney will send the applicable insurance companies your demand for compensation along with copies of your medical records and other types of relevant evidence.
Increase Your Injury Compensation With Representation From an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Insurance companies prefer that you settle your claim without a personal injury attorney. They know that injured parties who have legal counsel usually receive more for their damages than those who do not. The last thing they want to happen is for you to hire a well-versed personal injury attorney who can help you fight for what you deserve.
If your claim winds up in a trial, a jury can determine that you deserve far more compensation than you originally demanded. You might receive substantial punitive damages if the liable party engaged in particularly egregious conduct.
More often than not, an experienced personal injury lawyer can negotiate a fair settlement that will keep both parties out of a courtroom whenever possible. However, they will advise when you need to go to trial for the best possible outcome of your case.
While you may not know what your case is worth right now, don’t settle for less than you deserve. Instead, contact a personal injury lawyer today for help.