Perhaps you have seen two personal injury cases where the damages seem pretty much the same, but the insurance settlements were very different. Several factors come into play when the insurance company and your attorney look at a personal injury victim. Here are some of the things they consider.
1. Medical Treatment and Expenses
Many facilities provide medical treatment. The insurer first considers how soon you sought treatment. The rationale is that if you waited several days, the injury was not as severe as someone who got examined and treated the day of the injury. They also look at the type of facility, whether it was an emergency room, urgent care facility, or your primary care physician.
2. Types of Injuries
Broken bones are very easy to diagnose. Additionally, things like head injuries, prominent bruising, and bleeding are easy to document. Because tests like MRIs and x-rays show definitive damage, this is solid evidence of the problems. Less obvious injuries are more difficult to prove, and payers like to discount their importance.
Not every case is clear cut as to who was at fault. In fact, in most instances, there can be blame assessed to more than one individual. There can be other contributing factors like road conditions in a vehicle accident and whether someone has a history of similar legal infractions or crimes.
If one party has admitted fault, especially if it was documented on the police report, it becomes significantly easier to assign blame.
4. Amount of Coverage
Every policy has financial limits to the coverage. If there are multiple victims, the maximum pay-out can be reached sooner. It could also be that to compensate everyone, some people will be awarded amounts lower than they truly deserve.
In most cases, the type of accident and degree of injuries have occurred previously; they are considered precedent or examples. Attorneys, judges, and claims adjusters refer to these cases to see the amount of settlements that were made. That provides a perspective of what should be paid out in this particular instance. They can compare liability assessments and degrees of injuries to make a reasonable decision under the current circumstances.
6. Pre-existing Conditions
It is more difficult to prove damages for a condition that has worsened than for a new injury. For instance, if arthritis was already present, it is hard to show that the pain would not have occurred naturally without the injury. Whether the doctors’ orders, advice, and treatment plan were followed can also be a contributing factor. That would include looking at missed appointments and whether home therapy was followed.
Some other aspects will contribute to a higher or lower settlement offer. Some of these are:
Medications, both long term and short duration.
Number of medical appointments for treatment versus those for diagnosis or follow up.
Permanent disfigurement including loss of body parts or mobility.
Surgeries and reconstructions.
Inability to perform daily activities that were a part of your life before the injury.
Situations that impact employment or school.
Need to hire help to cope with daily activities, like housekeeping, child care, etc.
The types of treatments necessary and the providers. More credence is issued to surgeons and specialists than to chiropractors and assistants.
Duration of treatment period and permanent conditions.
Lost wages or opportunities (like a child that relied on a sports scholarship that is no longer available).
The number of witnesses to the accident.
Their reliability or bias.
If the reports are conflicting or not.
Photographs or videos of the damage or the accident.
If you or a member of your family have been involved in a situation that resulted in personal injuries in the Birmingham, Alabama area, contact us at Spellen Law. Our firm has extensive experience working with personal injury cases, and we will be able to instruct you on how to proceed. We will be with you during every stage of the proceeding and will be sure you understand not only what is happening but we will provide a realistic expectation of compensation.
We have the experience and expertise to navigate the evidence and process. Please feel free to arrange for an appointment to discuss your situation and how our firm can help you be compensated for your injuries and expenses. Early action on your part makes our job easier. We can even help in other areas too, such as consumer protection!
Call us at: (205) 820-9474