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How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?

Source: Ciotka

Source: Ciotka

After you get hurt in a car accident or on a slippery sidewalk, you might not be expecting another blow: to your wallet. But that’s exactly where insurance companies will often get you, by offering a low settlement figure. (Kinda wish they’d just go for the gut, right?)

When you’re in pain and weary from endless paperwork and questions, it can be tempting to just accept the first sum they offer. (Yet another reason to hire a personal injury lawyer.)

But what number should you actually settle for? An amount might seem huge at first, but as treatment for your injury drags on, you might find that once-eye-popping amount won’t cover your chiropractic appointments anymore. Read on to learn some guidelines about the value of your personal injury claim, and watch my 90-second video guide too.

How much your personal injury claim is worth will vary based on a case-by-case basis. (You knew it wasn’t as easy as me naming one lump sum, right? If only it were that simple.)

Your personal injury claim payment will partly depend on how bad your injuries are. Specifically, the type of medical care you need, how often you need it, how intense the medical care is, and if you’re permanently injured even after treatment is over. For example, a broken leg claim is worth more money than just a bruised leg, and so on.

The key is to document everything thoroughly. How many days of work have you missed? How much gas are your parents buying to drive you around? Basically, here’s what gets factored in:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Stress and burden on your family

It will also depend on whether liability is clear or it’s disputed — is the hotel owner where you fell claiming that you should’ve seen the “wet floor” sign? Is the other driver trying to shift the blame?

Source: adrian8_8

Source: adrian8_8

Don’t forget that determining the value of your claim will have to wait until you’re done with treatment. If you don’t, you could run into unexpected medical costs that you didn’t get compensation for. No one wants that.

There are many, many other smaller factors that each contribute to the overall value of your unique personal injury claim. Knowing all of these factors and how your claim fits into those factors is what separates an experienced injury attorney from one that does not have the experience to give you an accurate prediction of the value of your claim.

One of the final factors that you will have to look at is what jury verdicts are similar to your case. Montana jury verdicts are typically of a lower dollar amount than those of California and other states. Jury verdict amounts are a reflection of the people of that state and county, and what they think is fair. Because Montana verdicts tend to not award as much money as other states, your personal injury claim will have a different value in Montana that in another state because if you can’t settle your case, you are headed for a jury to see what they would award you.

If a personal injury lawyer tries to tell you how much your claim is worth right off the bat, without knowing some of these details, that’s a big red flag. Don’t do business with that attorney.

At Judnich Law Office, we help you figure out how much your personal injury claim is worth so you get a fair compensation package. We know how to make sure you don’t get lowballed by the insurance company.

So if you’re ready to find out how much your personal injury claim is worth, learn more about who we are and get a free consultation today!

Understanding Vehicle Insurance: Have You Insured Yourself & Your Family?

do you have vehicle insurance?For over 15 years, I’ve been helping people who have been injured by someone else’s negligence. In that time, I have never come across someone who had a perfect understanding of their vehicle liability insurance coverages. I cannot believe that people in America are not taught a course on vehicle insurance in high school. Understanding the intricacies of vehicle insurance is crucial to protecting ourselves and our families.

Two common scenarios seem to come up regularly. Individuals either have the legal minimum coverage or more than that – “full” coverage. Either way, you have no idea what that coverage is, what it covers, and what other optional coverages you could get.

I can help.

This is a primer. Reading this post will give you a basic understanding of the industry terms and coverage options.

Liability Coverage

This insurance does not cover you at all, even if you are hurt. It covers anyone you hurt if a crash is your fault.

Specifically, This is the amount of money that your insurance company will pay (or “indemnify”) on your behalf if you injure someone and the accident is your fault.

Every state has a minimum coverage amount. In Montana this minimum is $25,000. That is not a lot of coverage these days.

Think about this. Say you injure someone else in a vehicle accident and their claim has a value of $25,000 or more. You will be personally liable for every dollar owed to them over $25,000.

We recommend obtaining at least $100,000 in liability coverage. The vast majority of vehicle claims are worth less than $100,000. If you can afford more, purchase a little more, but $100,000 is a decent starting point.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

This is coverage that you receive if someone else is at fault for a crash and is either:

1) Uninsured (1 in 4 drivers on the road do not have insurance)


2) Has minimal Liability Coverage for your claim that is worth more than their policy limit.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage is great. It protects you from irresponsible people who don’t have enough – or any – insurance to compensate you.

Because of the extreme number of uninsured drivers on the road, I would strongly encourage you to get this kind of coverage. If you are covering yourself and your family, I recommend obtaining at least $250,000 in this coverage. As always, purchase more if you can afford it.

car with a cracked windshield

Medical Payment Coverage

This coverage pays for medical bills you incur. You receive this coverage whether a crash is your fault, or someone else’s.

To put it simply, this coverage is health insurance for a vehicle crash.

Why get it if you already have health insurance? Good question. Medical payment coverage offers added benefits that health insurance does not. Because you don’t pay any deductible, you never pay it back. Plus, it is usually paid out with no questions asked.

This is the most misunderstood coverage. Most people should have it, but don’t. It is especially valuable when an accident is someone else’s fault.

Your Med Pay will pay for your bills, and then the responsible driver’s company will also pay for the same bills.

Yes, your bills  get paid twice. After the first payment, you keep that money. You could be pocketing this med pay money, at an amount that can be substantial.

This coverage is CHEAP. You should go get it today if you don’t have it. I recommend obtaining at least $50,000 of medical pay. Of course, get more if you can afford it, or if your company will provide it.

smashed front of a vehicle

Comprehensive & Collision Coverage

This is coverage for your car. This is what most banks will refer to as “full” coverage. It’s full in the sense that the insurance companies take care of your car. You are not covered.

If your car is involved in a crash this coverage will pay for repairs to your vehicle after you pay the deductible. If a crash is someone else’s fault, you can use this coverage to repair your car and have the other party pay your deductible. If a crash is your fault, this coverage will pay for the repair of your vehicle after you pay your deductible.

Don’t be fooled into believing that this “full” coverage insures you or the ones you love when they are injured in an accident. Again, this coverage has nothing to do with you, your family, or any injuries. It only covers damage to a car.

There are other coverage types out there with their own subtle nuances. These and other ways in which the coverages listed above are applicable to injury claims are too detailed to list in a single post.

For detailed discussions about these coverages, please feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. We are also happy to discuss these issues with you and your insurance agent, who should be happy to figure out a great insurance plan to fit your needs and budget.

Questions or comments on the information we listed above? Let us know in the comments.

Investing in private DUI defense attorneys #MissoulaDUI

How much does it cost to hire Marty Judnich for DUI defense? #MissoulaDUI
I’ve been practicing 12 years. My first three years, I prosecuted thousands of DUI cases as a Deputy County Attorney in Montana. My last 9 years I have been defending hundreds of DUI cases with great success. I’ve been voted the “Best Lawyer” in Missoula several times. I’ve tried hundreds of cases, cross examined hundreds of police officers and I brought the DUI Portable Breath Testing cases to the forefront via the Montana Supreme Court. I know the science behind it, I know the prosecutors and the courts, and I know the law.
I am constantly asked why private criminal defense costs so much for a DUI offense, typically thousands of dollars. The answers are pretty simple:
Private DUI defense is costly because I am devoting time to your case, and only your case. I also show up to several court appearances with you and make sure you know what to do, before you show up. In order to effectively handle a DUI case, you need to have years of experience learning the sciences of the Intoxilyzer, know the laws on how officers instruct and perform breath tests and field sobriety testing, and know what makes a fuel cell work and also error in a PBT. The list goes on and on, in addition to having a relationship with prosecutors and judges. The “cheaper” attorney down the street doesn’t know that. That’s why they are cheap. DUI’s are difficult cases to handle, take a lot of time, and when I’m spending my time on your case, that takes money.
I don’t compete with cheap attorneys. I don’t discount my experience and results. If you cannot afford my services, that is unfortunate, because a good defense is an investment, not just finding the cheapest representation you can find.
Why not go to a big firm? You may have the opportunity to meet one of the big guys at the “big firm” for your initial consultation. But, be assured that the big guy attorney will not be handling your case from day to day. If you place a call or an email to that big guy, do you get a response from him, or a first year associate attorney they just hired? Chances are, you will be communicating with the associate, because they are the ones that are actually handling your case. That doesn’t happen at the Judnich Law Office. My associate attorney, Vinnie Pavlish assists me with more complicated cases, but I handle every single case, and I always respond to my client inquiries. I also return phone calls.
If you want the best possible defense to try to explore all the opportunities to get an acceptable resolution to your DUI charge, call us for a free, no obligation consultation. Let us show you what an investment into your future can mean, and why we are different from the discount and big firm guys. You can reach me personally at (406) 721-3354 or toll free at (855) 853-1482.

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Judnich Law Office | 2419 Mullan Road Missoula, MT 59808 | Phone: (406) 721-3354

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