Every personal injury case is different as it involves different parties, different accidents and/property damage, different injuries, different treatment, different insurance, etc. The insurance companies’ payout or settlement depends on the individual circumstances of each case. For example, the value of a no-fault total loss car accident with broke bones could be substantially higher than the value of a no-fault accident with minor property damage and soft tissue injuries.
The following factors generally drive the value of any personal injury case:
- Whether there is a personal injury attorney – it has been reported that personal injury attorneys on average are able to get 3X higher settlement than
- Extent of injuries – soft tissue injuries (whiplash, sprains, strains, muscle tears and nerve damage) are worth less than traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, because they are subjective and thus, are harder to prove. The extent of injuries also determines the cost of past and future pain and suffering, cost of past and future medical care, lost wages and the loss of earning capacity.
- Extent of the property damage to all vehicles – fender bender or minor impact accidents tend to have lower settlement value than accidents with moderate to significant damage.
- Liability – partially at-fault claimant’s damages are reduced by the percentage of fault.
- The amount of outstanding medical bills – larger out of pocket medical expenses increase the settlement value of the case. Therefore, having medical payments benefits or health insurance may actually lower the settlement value in some cases.
- Pre-existing medical conditions – new injuries are typically worse more than pre-existing injuries.
- Type of medical treatment received – for example, conservative chiropractic treatment is worth much less than pain management or surgical procedures.
- Reputation of the treating physicians– conservative doctors tend to cut off treatment quickly and minimize the extent of injuries a claimant sustained, however the extent of injuries and type of treatment directly affect the case value.
- Quality of medical reports – insurance adjuster put a dollar value on a personal injury case based on damaged sustained as a result of the accident. Medical records provide proof of injuries. Most insurance adjusters do not have medical education. Therefore, accurate, complete, descriptive and comprehensive medical reports can aid adjusters in better understanding the patient’s complaints, rendered treatment, and medical prognosis and properly evaluating the settlement value of the case.
- Reputation of the insurance company – some insurance companies pay more than others. For example, presently State Farm is significantly below average when it comes to paying Florida personal injury claims.
- Credibility and character of the claimant – jurors like honest, hard-working, stable and reasonable people.
- Claimant’s age – younger people may have an easier time proving causation of certain injuries compared to older people with degenerative conditions. Also, younger people have higher life expectancy and thus, their pain and suffering and future medical care damages may be higher.
- Type of employment and rate of pay – personal injury claimants with manual labor jobs may have a more difficult time proving causation of their injuries, and self-employed people may have trouble proving their lost wages to get compensation.
At Anna Handy Law Firm, P.A. we work closely with our clients every step of the process to ensure that they understand the process and factors that will drive the value of their case. We work together with our clients to mitigate any negative factors and build up the positive ones to obtain maximum financial recovery for them. If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, please give us a call for a free non-obligation consultation. (386) 248-3000.