- June 27, 2014
- Category: Latest
If you believe the irresponsibility of another party caused you injury, you have the right to pursue damages to cover costs of medical bills, lost income, and intangibles such as pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment. The million dollar question for anyone in this position is ‘how much is my case worth?’ There is no exact formula for calculating what you are entitled to, but there are some factors that can give you some idea of what to expect. Here are just a few considerations.
Insurance Company Calculations
Insurance companies do have a formula to come up with a number that usually kick starts negotiations. First, medical costs are calculated, and include anything that may have been incurred up until now, and any costs you may bear in the future. This base number is then multiplied from 1.5 to five in most cases. Lost income is then added to this figure.
There is no exact science to determining the multiplier, as many of the factors are intangible, and can’t be easily quantified, such as pain and suffering, and missed opportunities resulting from the injury.
In some cases, the multiplier goes beyond five, and may even go as high as ten. But, to reach these higher settlements, a number of factors must be present, such as the injuries being obvious and unquestionably painful, and clearly detected by medical tests, the fault of the other party being blatantly obvious and almost total, prolonged recovery of at least six months, permanent consequences of the injury, and a physician confirming the injuries will lead to future health problems, recurring symptoms or degeneration.
It is important you have realistic expectations about your settlement—it is already a lengthy process, and dragging out the battle for compensation to which you aren’t really entitled based on the nature of your injury will just make things more difficult. If you meet with an experienced personal injury attorney, he can give you some idea of how much money you may get based on previous cases similar to yours.
Degree of Fault
In many personal injury cases, the fault is not 100 percent unquestionably on the defendant. Actions of the injured may have played some role, and that will be considered. In most states, you must not be any more than 50 percent at fault to receive any sort of compensation. There are some states that don’t consider your fault at all, while there are a few that do not allow you to seek any damages if you were found to play any role in sustaining the injury.
Your actions after the accident will also be taken into account as well, and if you have done anything that may have worsened the injury, any compensation may be reduced. Examples include not getting recommended treatments, or partaking in activities you were advised to refrain from because they would impede healing.
This is a very important aspect of valuing your claim, and your percentage of fault will be deducted from any figure calculated by the insurance company. For example, if the company was going to pay you 100,000 but you were found 25 percent at fault, they would offer you 75,000.
How Much Time Do You Have?
Like it was mentioned earlier, negotiations are common in personal injury settlements. While you don’t want to try and negotiate a settlement beyond the extent of your injuries, you can try and get more money if you feel entitled to it. So, if you are willing to wait, you may be able to get more money—this is no guarantee, however. But, if you are really strapped for cash, and your bills are piling up, dragging it out further may not be the best idea.
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