Last Update: 11/15/18
How much should you settle for with the insurance company for your injury claim? Is the offer fair?
These are questions that personal injury lawyers hear everyday — and while the question is simple enough, the answer is far from easy to give. Why? Every injury is unique. Each person’s recovery from injury is different. No two people are the same.
Each Injury Claim Is Unique
There is no fast, uniform reference to answer the question of what a person’s injury claim should be in dollars and cents. Unlike personal property damage where a car is damaged and someone can calculate the value of the dented car door, the mangled bumper, the blown tire, based upon model, make, and other concrete product details, damage to the human body isn’t as easily assessed.
Things to Consider and Value in an Injury Claim
Settlement of an injury claim means analyzing a large picture to determine the amount of money that will fairly compensate that injured person for what has happened to him or her. This analysis involves more than just physical injuries. There may be mental and psychological issues to be addressed. Other damage claim components can include:
— Age of the injured person and their life expectancy
— Sex of the injured person
— Physical condition before the accident happened (Was he an athlete? Was she pregnant?)
— Mental state before the injury (Any history of depression?)
— Work and employment history
— Past earning history
— Change in life circumstances as a result of the accident – physical needs (wheelchair, etc.) short term
— Change in life circumstances as a result of the accident – physical needs (wheelchair, etc.) long term
— Altered health status in the long term because of the injury
— Lost ability to earn a living because of the injury
There may be additional components to the injury victim’s harm to be considered that are not as easily documented, including:
Financial Factors in an Injury Claim
Once these injury claim components are calculated, often with the input from one or more experts in fields of physical therapy, psychological needs, etc., the analysis is not complete. The personal injury lawyer, in answering that question “is this settlement offer fair?” will also consider things like:
— Economic value of the U.S. Dollar today and in the future (considering inflation, etc.)
— Manner in which claim is to be paid (lump sum, annuity, etc.).
Attitude of Insurance Companies to Some Types of Injury Claims
Finally, the personal injury lawyer will consider the injury itself. Insurance companies are notorious for disrespecting certain kinds of injuries — particularly injuries involving whiplash and soft tissue injuries which are common injuries in most car crashes and motor vehicle accidents. Injury claims involving these types of injuries are approached suspiciously by insurance carriers and often these settlement claim offers will be lower than they should be because the insurance company is low-balling things based upon their belief that whiplash and soft tissue injuries aren’t real or serious. See, The Case for and Against the MIST (Minor Impact Soft Tissue) Premise 2005, Vol. 4, No. 2, Pages 33 – 43, by Christopher J. Centeno Medical Director and Michael Freeman.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you are not sure that the insurance company is making you a fair offer for your personal injury claim, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you settle the claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with a claim, including the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
How does an insurance company decide how much they will pay to compensate someone for an injury?
- 5 Things You Should Know About Car Insurance Adjusters When You Have A Car Accident Claim
- Are Florida Insurance Adjusters On Your Side?: Beware of the Denied Claim, the Low Ball Claim and the Recorded Statement.
- Injured People Settling Their Own Insurance Claims in Florida – When Should They Call a Florida Lawyer to Help Get Fair Compensation?
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.
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