If you’ve been injured in a car accident, or due to the negligent actions of another person or organization, you may be asking yourself, “How do insurance companies value claims?”. The answer is that insurance companies use different methods to evaluate personal injury claims. One old, traditional method that was frequently used in the past and may even still be used by some insurance companies is that your case is worth 2-3 times the amount of your medical bills. So, if you incurred $3,000 in medical bills, then an insurance company may start pre-suit settlement negotiations at $6,000-$9,000 and would value your case somewhere in this price range. This method of evaluation is quite subjective as one case with a small amount of medical bills may be worth more than a similar case with larger medical bills. It really depends on the extent of injuries and their permanency, affect on a person’s life and work, etc. Some insurance companies just try to “low ball” every case and hope that the injured party will settle and take the offer without filing a lawsuit.
Attorneys will argue that their clients are entitled to non-economic damages which are very difficult to place a set value upon. Damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and other non-economic damages vary on a case by case basis. An injured person may have an exact amount of past medical bills and past lost wages but one will have to make an educated guess on the amount to negotiate for future medical bills and future lost wages. Experts are used to calculate these future damages. So, an attorney will need to hire an expert in vocational rehabilitation or a medical doctor who is trained to calculate the cost of future medical care and rehabilitation.
Juries decide everyday what a case is worth. A jury will look at all the evidence and if there is no questions regarding fault or causation, will move on to argue about how much damages the plaintiff/injured party should receive as an award. This jury award will usually consist of damages for economic losses (like medical bills and lost wages) and non-economic damages (like pain/suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and other damages that are not “economic”). It should be the goal of every personal injury attorney to prevent your case from being decided by a jury unless the defendant insurance company is being totally unreasonable in their settlement offers. As they say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Letting a jury decide your future is very risky and like gambling in Las Vegas. Sometimes one has no choice but to take their case to the Jury, but it is always less risky if you can negotiate a favorable settlement with the insurance carrier. This will save you money and time as well as the possibility of having to pay the other side’s attorneys fees and costs if the case is decided in favor of the defendant/insurance company.
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The insurance dispute attorneys at the Rector Law Firm have decades of experience helping people protect their rights when dealing with the big insurance companies. Call today for a free consultation and put that experience to work for you. Call (719) 578-1106 or fill out the contact form on this page to set up a case review today.