Determining the Value of your Personal Injury Settlement
When evaluating personal injury settlements, there are no steadfast rules. Each case has its own particular set of criteria that make it unique, and the truth is that settlements are different with each lawyer and insurance company.
It is important to remember that after a person has been injured in an accident, and even before a personal injury attorney is hired, insurance companies are working hard to minimize their responsibility. Therefore, the sooner you find a lawyer who can advise you what not to say or do, the better off you will be.
How Much to Ask for Your Personal Injury Settlement?
Insurance companies are quick to send investigators to your home to find out things you don’t want them to know. They can, and often do, twist your words to make you look like the person responsible for the accident.
Another thing to keep in mind, is to never tell the insurance company how much you are willing to settle for. As a non-attorney, you probably don’t have the skills or experience to make an educated decision of how much your injury will cost you in the long-term. An experienced attorney knows that; you may be out of work for a very long time; your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses could be very high; and your pain and suffering is worth more than you can imagine. The idea is that you need to make sure you are factoring in how painful your injury is, whether or not it will result in future medical procedures or costs (sometimes, recovery periods could last many years or even a lifetime and it is almost impossible to quantify it at the outset of your case). The costs of the personal injury you sustained can include emotional trauma; physical disability; pain and suffering; missed work or lost income, as well as medical care and other related medical expenses.
Insurance Companies Use an Auto Accident Settlement Formula
After a car accident, for example, an insurance adjuster (the person in charge of figuring out how much money your accident is worth) will gather information to formulate what they believe your injuries to be and how much they are willing to pay for those injuries. Before you agree to anything, make sure that you factor in the following :
- Past and Future Medical Expenses: Look into your medical expenses and make sure that you total all of the money you have spent on medical expenses, as well as what you anticipate you will have to pay for future medical expenses.
- Past and Future Lost Earnings and/or Earning Capacity: If you were unable to work, those lost earnings should be factored in. Include any vacation time or sick days used. Finally, if you believe you will miss work in the future because your ability to work and earn a living has changed because of the accident, you should take that into consideration.
- Pain and Suffering: The pain that is often endured by an injured person is not quantifiable like lost wages or medical expenses, but they are just as important if not more so. These damages are very broad and can often be the most significant component of your claim.
Get Your Free Consultation by a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
As you can probably see, It is very difficult, if not impossible, to accurately measure how much your personal injuries have and will cost you in time, money, and pain. Before you talk with anyone from an insurance company about your injuries, consider talking with a personal injury lawyer who will advise you as to what he or she feels will be in your best interest. Leave it up to a professional with the experience to fight for you, and spend that time taking care of yourself.