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?
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.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.