When settling a personal injury claim, it is possible that you may receive a settlement offer that isn’t fair. If you haven’t negotiated with insurance companies before, you may be unsure what an appropriate settlement amount for your claim would be. Learn how settlement offers are calculated, and how you can know if your offer is fair.
Settlement offers may be calculated based on:
- The jurisdiction the injured party lives in.
- The injured party’s length of treatment.
- The extent of the injured party’s injuries.
- If the injured party is completely healed at the time of the offer.
- If property damage claims have been resolved.
- The policy limits of the injuring party.
Settlements can be difficult to calculate, and often you and your attorney will decide on a minimum amount that is acceptable and negotiate for a settlement that is greater than that amount. Your expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of income are all likely to be key factors in determining what a fair amount is.
The Extent of Your Injuries
Your settlement will need to be large enough to cover your medical expenses. If you have sustained extensive injuries and have required multiple procedures and a lengthy recovery time to heal properly, your settlement is likely to be more than if you had only minor injuries. Pain and suffering, ongoing treatment, medication, and other expenses can increase the amount you require for your settlement.
Document your expenses carefully as you undergo treatment. If you can provide evidence of the costs of your injuries, you can help increase the amount of your settlement. Medication, medical bills, medical equipment, nursing, mileage to drive to and from treatments, lost wages and future income, and other expenses may count towards your claim. Consult with your lawyer about what expenses are valid for your claim, and how they can be documented.
Non-economic damages may be more difficult to prove, but there still are ways to demonstrate your emotional distress, mental trauma, physical pain, and decreased quality of life. Journals can be a powerful tool to document day-to-day activities and thoughts.
Your Recovery Progress
If you are not completely recovered from your injuries, you may be faced with upcoming expenses. If you settle before your treatment is complete, you may be forced to pay future expenses out of pocket. Consult with your doctor to determine what treatments you are likely to need in the future, and work with your attorney to figure out a reasonable amount that would cover your future expenses. Your lawyer may be able to examine similar claims to determine what future medical expenses you are likely to recover.
If you were injured in a car accident, and your car is sitting at your mechanic or body shop, waiting for repairs, you may be charged for storage. Be sure that your property damage expenses are settled before accepting your settlement. Have your insurer or the other party’s insurer promptly assess your vehicle for damage.
If your vehicle is totaled, be aware that the insurance company will only pay the market value of your vehicle. If there are custom parts that increase the value, be sure to provide documentation of these parts. You can ask to receive the cash value of your vehicle, after the salvage amount has been subtracted from the total.
It can be challenging to ensure that you receive a fair, adequate amount of compensation for your accident. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies to help you receive the compensation you deserve. They will be able to advise you about the settlements of similar claims and if the amount offered is a fair one.
Our Worcester personal injury attorneys can help you fight for compensation after your accident. At the Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr., we are committed to protecting the rights of our clients with aggressive representation and effective legal strategies. Contact our firm at (508) 926-8833 to begin your case with a consultation.