While every case is different, here are some pointers to keep in mind. There are factors which can increase the value of your case, and there are factors which can decrease the value of your case. There are things which you can do which increase the chances of making a good recovery and there are things which you can do which can lower your recovery.
The value of your case depends on how the accident happened.
If there is any dispute as to how the accident happened, this can lower the value of your case. If the other driver claims you were speeding, you failed to yield or slammed on your brakes, this can lower the value of a case. In fact, an insurance company may deny your claim and force you to go to court to make any recovery. Additionally, an insurance adjuster will consider the force of the impact as well as the amount of property damage. While the amount of the impact has no direct correlation to the injuries in an accident, insurance claim examiners still take this into consideration. A case with little property damage will be worth less than if there is a significant impact.
The value of your accident case is based on your medical treatment.
Notice we did not say that the value of your case is based on your injuries. An insurance adjuster has no way of knowing what your injuries are, only what medical treatment you had for those injuries. This is a crucial distinction in valuing personal injury cases. You can have serious injuries and experience a great deal of pain and recovery, but without medical treatment, your case will not be worth as much. Insurance companies, as well as juries, figure that people who are hurt go to the doctor, those who are not hurt, do not seek medical attention. This may not always be true, but this impacts the value of a case. For this reason, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will always advise a client to continue to seek medical attention until they have made a complete recovery. Failure to seek medical attention is the largest single factor which lowers the value of your case.
The value of your case is usually proportional to the amount of your medical bills.
Let's get something straight before you read on further. There is no "rule" that a case is worth three times your medical bills. This is a longstanding myth which bears no basis in reality. Now, the greater your medical bills, the greater your recovery. This is because the at fault party is responsible for paying the full amount of your medical bills, not just your out of pocket costs. Logically, the higher your medical bills, the greater your recovery. However, there is no direct, mathematical formula to use in determining the value of your case.
Also, some types of bills increase the value of your case more than others. For example, if most of your medical bills are for diagnostic testing such as x-rays, MRI's, EMG's, etc., those type of bills do not lead to a large increase in value in your case. Medical bills for treatment, such as doctor's visits, physical therapy or chiropractic treatment, increase the value of your case more than diagnostic bills.
Don't let the insurance company tell you the value of your case
Odds are this is the first time you have been in an accident and sustained personal injuries. You are doing the wise thing in learning as much as possible about your case. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we seek to educate our clients. Our web site is designed to provide answers to commonly asked questions. However, our ability to evaluate the value of a personal injury case comes from years of experience and from representing thousands of clients. If it were so simple to know the value of an accident case, there would be no need for lawyers. The job of the insurance company claim adjuster is to pay as little as possible to settle a case. The goal of a personal injury attorney is to obtain the greatest recovery possible from the insurance company. In the middle is you, the injured person.
How you can end up worse by handling the case yourself
Many people in automobile accidents just want their medical bills paid and the money they lost from being off from work. There is nothing wrong with this and we will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. But, it is important for you to know that you personally may be responsible for paying back your health insurance if they paid any of your medical bills. There may be doctors or hospitals who do not submit their bills to your health insurance and expect to be paid from the insurance settlement. These and other things can come back and bite you if you settle the case on your own. Of course the insurance adjuster will not tell you of these things, they just want you to sign a release and settle your case. Accident claims are much more complicated than they appear.
How to get the best recovery for your car accident case.
We have tried to provide you with some valuable information in handling your accident case yourself. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to provide a value to your case by reading a few web site articles. The single biggest factor in increasing your recovery in a personal injury case is by hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. In our experience, even after paying our contingency attorney fee, our clients will usually walk away with more money than they would if they handled their case themselves. Remember, only you the client can settle your case.
For more information about car accident cases, click on a link below or contact McCready, Garcia & Leet for a free consultation