The aftermath of an automobile accident can be an overwhelming experience – especially if you suffered a personal injury from it. Your life may seem to come to a screeching halt frozen in time where everything stops except for the bills and other recurring expenses. As you work towards recovering from your physical injuries, you will more than likely wonder how to stop the financial bleeding – such as the depletion of your savings and the growing financial burden thrown in your lap by this unexpected tragedy. Based on the circumstances, it is understandable why you may ask yourself, “What is the value of my personal injury claim? How much is it worth?”
Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer for those types of questions. Each personal injury case is different. There may be some similarities regarding how the case is handled, but the outcome of two similar cases could be completely different. Fortunately, with an experienced personal injury lawyer at your side, you will be able to understand the mechanics of how everything works behind the scenes and inside the courtroom.
What is the Magic Number for Accident Settlements?
Hollywood frequently paints a distorted picture of personal injury cases and lawsuits – specifically when it comes to settlement amounts. Is there a “magic number” or specific amount to which you are entitled for every personal injury case? If so, what is the number?
The truth is that this “magic number” does not exist. As mentioned above, the circumstances of one personal injury case may be completely different from another – which means any resulting settlement amounts can vary as well. Regardless of what you may hear or read, there is not a special formula used to calculate a personal injury settlement – such as a specific number multiplied by your total medical expenses. Your personal injury attorney will help you to examine the circumstances of your case and the long-term damage done to determine a solid claim amount to present to the court.
Which Factors Are Used to Calculate Settlement Value?
If you have been presented a potential settlement amount by the insurance adjuster, it is highly recommended for you not to rush to accept it. A common misconception is that the insurance adjuster calculates the value of your personal injury claim and will pay you that approximate amount.
As any experienced personal injury attorney will tell you, the exact opposite is usually the case. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company – which means he or she will typically look for ways to pay out the least amount of money (if any at all) to settle your claim.
When calculating the value of your personal injury case, several different factors are closely considered – such as:
- Loss wages (short-term & long-term)
- Associated medical expenses (short term & long-term)
- Medical records, examinations and overall doctor’s report
- Extent of injuries and overall damage caused by accident
Your personal injury case will be dissected piece-by-piece by opposing counsel and the insurance company. Therefore, when working with your personal injury attorney, the primary objective is to focus on the actual case – not the settlement. You must make sure that your case is solid – no discrepancies, flaws, unturned stone or unanswered question. When presenting the case either in court or discussions with opposing counsel, the strength of your case will speak volumes about your overall personal injury claim. The stronger your case, the better the outcome.
Should I Keep Track of My Medical Bills?
As mentioned above, there is no “magic number” or special formula that includes your medical bills. However, this does not mean they do not play an instrumental role in the success (or failure) of your personal injury case. One of the best ways to calculate the accurate value of your personal injury claim is through a detailed analysis of your medical records, bills and other related documents. In fact, you should view this type of documentation as a cornerstone of your entire case.
Therefore, it is vital that you get as much documentation as possible. As the old saying goes, documentation beats conversation any day of the week. A general rule of thumb for any type of legal case is that it is not what you can say, but what you can prove that will determine whether you win or lose. In addition to keeping track of your medical bills and expenses, it is also recommended that you collect:
- Photographs of your injuries over time
- Medical discharge paperwork, prescriptions and X-ray photographs
- Journal entries of your firsthand account of the accident
- Any relevant correspondence (chat transcripts, email messages, text messages, etc.)
- Phone records of related conversations with doctors, lawyers and insurance companies
- Pay stubs from before and after automobile accident
- Documentation of other expenses related to your personal injuries
If you forgot to obtain a document or record (such as a report from your last doctor’s visit), do not view it as a lost cause. Reach out to the office staff and have them mail, fax and/or print the necessary documentation for you. Once again, your objective is to fortify your personal injury case as much as possible. Your personal injury attorney will help you to essentially make your case bulletproof before presenting it to the judge – a goal that can only be achieved with the cornerstone of documentation firmly in place.
Understanding the Challenge of Personal Injury Settlements
Even the most experienced personal injury attorneys may find it somewhat challenging to value an automobile accident claim. There are quite a few inconsistencies when it comes to damages awarded and the monetization of injuries for automobile accident victims.
The common myth (and misconception) is that a standard settlement amount is the total amount of medical expenses multiplied. When you consider the mechanics of an automobile accident and everything involved in the aftermath of this unexpected tragedy, it becomes clear that a simple multiplication equation does not solve this problem.
The key is to always focus on maintaining realistic expectations – especially when it comes to the settlement stage of a personal injury case. It is highly recommended for you to avoid speculation and pipe dreams. Instead, adhere to the instructions provided by your personal injury lawyer from start to finish. Doing so will increase your chances of presenting a solid and successful personal injury case when the time comes.
Contact the NC Personal Injury Lawyers at Ted A. Greve & Associates Today
Time is a rare commodity for any type of personal injury case. You should make wise use of it and not let a single day go to waste. Reach out to us at Ted A. Greve & Associates today to schedule an initial consultation. We will assign an attorney to your case with the knowledge, experience and overall expertise needed to guide you every step of the way.
We know that you probably have a lot of questions, concerns and even confusion that you want to address as quickly as possible. During our initial consultation, we will relieve some of that burden and provide you with the guidance you need to build a solid personal injury case. There is no need to wait any longer. Give us a call today and allow us to prove to you firsthand why our law firm is the best in the area when it comes to getting justice for personal injury victims.