Factors in Determining What Your Bodily Injury Claim is Worth
One of the most common questions asked by clients is how much their case is worth. The answer to this question varies due to several factors. First, the worth of your case depends on the strength of your liability claim, and second, the extent of your damages. To simplify this, the definition of liability is “the state of being responsible for something, especially by law.” In a motor vehicle accident, if you are held liable, or responsible, for causing the accident, you are the at-fault party. If you are not held responsible, and the other vehicle’s insurance company accepts liability, then you are in a position to start a bodily injury claim. There can be instances where both vehicles are held liable, meaning both vehicles contributed to the accident, and in that situation you would have a more challenging time working your claim out. To keep things simplified for this article, I am going to discuss a basic example in which two vehicles had a collision and one was found at-fault and the other was not. In order to determine liability exists in a collision, the at-fault party has to have shown negligence that lead to the incident. Typical examples of negligence are driving too fast, following too closely, making an unsafe turn, running stop signs or red lights, and talking or texting on cell phones.
Regarding the extent of your damages, insurance companies have different ways of calculating the worth of your claim. Your property claim, or the damage to your vehicle, is separate from your bodily injury claim, but the total cost of damage to the car can be a determining factor in the worth of your bodily injury claim. Other damages that will be considered are all medical bills incurred for accident-related treatment, any and all injuries, as well as any income lost due to missed work from accident related issues, and finally the most ambiguous aspect, pain and suffering. With respect to injuries sustained in a collision, these injuries can range from soft tissue (contusions and sprains) to permanent disfigurement (scars, burns, etc.) or a permanent spinal injury or traumatic brain injury disabling you from your career. Obviously the severity of your injuries will impact the amount of medical bills as well as impact the overall settlement the at-fault insurance company is willing to pay.
To help you evaluate the validity of your claim, you should know if the other vehicle’s insurance company has accepted liability and be aware of the extent of damages. Following an accident, first and foremost, you should focus on your health and well-being. One thing to avoid are any gaps in treatment. Gaps in treatment do not look good to at-fault insurance providers and this can impact your claim. If you go to a hospital on the day of the accident, for example, and the emergency room doctor orders x-rays and refers you to physical therapy, you should absolutely follow through with all necessary treatment. Keep in mind though, any extraneous treatment(s) will not have the same impact as necessary treatment a medical professional has determined you need in order to fully heal. As long as you follow through with your physicians recommendations and keep organized records of the inconveniences (i.e. travel time to appointments, prescriptions, etc.) your accident has caused, you should have a solid bodily injury claim.
If you find yourself in an automobile collision and need legal assistance, never hesitate to call the Lariscy Law Firm. Attorney Joe Lariscy has been handling personal injury claims for over 30 years and always fights for the best outcome and settlement for his clients. For a free consultation, call (706)389-4375 or contact us online.