Many victims of car accident cases want to know the value of their claim for settlement purposes. The truth is there is no set rule to the actual value of a victims claim for pain and suffering. There are many factors that play a role in determining the approximate value of a car accident bodily injury claim. Many victims compare their case with another person’s past experience. This is a mistake. No two accident claims for a motor vehicle bodily injury claim are alike.
The insurance company takes into consideration many factors when reviewing a car accident bodily injury claim for settlement. The first factor is Liability. If the insurance company finds you at fault, then they will most likely deny your claim. Sometimes, the insurance company makes a determination that a plaintiff/victim presenting a bodily injury claim is partly at fault for the accident. Under this circumstance, the insurance company may offer less than the full value of your claim. If they determine that you are more than 50% at fault, the insurance company could outright deny your claim for a recovery. This is why it is imperative that you have an attorney to explore all theories of liability and to fight for your rights.
Once Liability has been established, the bodily Injury Insurance Carrier takes several factors into consideration when determining the value of a claim. Before an insurance company makes an offer of settlement in a Bodily Injury claim in Massachusetts, The plaintiff/claimant needs to establish they incurred over $2,000.00 of motor vehicle accident related medical expenses, or have suffered a broken bone or sustain a permanent scar. This is commonly referred to as the “tort threshold”.
Once the “tort threshold” is established, there are several factors to consider when determining the monetary value of a potential bodily injury case. Some major factors to consider are:
The type of injuries you sustain. You will need to establish that your injuries are causally related to the motor vehicle accident. Once you establish your injuries are due to the accident, the type of injuries play a role in determining the value of the claim. Obviously, if you sustain a fracture of your spine requiring surgery, in-patient hospitalization and permanent injuries, your damages for consideration for settlement purposes will be much higher than if you sustained a temporary soft tissue sprain/strain injury of your spine.
The length, type and costs of your medical treatment also play a role in determining the value of your potential claim. If you need to undergo physical therapy for accident related injuries for 6 months, your case should have more value than if you only needed 1 month of physical therapy. If you have accident related medical bills that are outstanding or not covered by another form of insurance, then the bodily injury insurance company should take into account any outstanding medical expenses.
Factors such as your age, whether you aggravated an underlying medical condition, whether you sustained any lost wages, how well you recovered from your injuries, the risk of future medical problems and the determination of whether you have a permanent loss of function all play a role in the value of your case.
Your ability to quantify and describe your pain and suffering and how your injuries have impacted your life play a vital role in determining the potential value of your claim. Ultimately, if you are not able to resolve your claim for bodily injuries caused from a motor vehicle accident, you have a right to file a lawsuit. If your case proceeds to trial, it is the Jury’s ultimate decision as to whether you will receive an award.
Obtaining legal representation with an experienced car accident attorney can play a vital role in maximizing your potential recovery. Attorney Michael Smith and his staff have decades of experience negotiating auto accident bodily injury settlements for their clients and to their best to obtain a timely and fair settlement. If you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained injuries, please contact The Law Offices of Michael O. Smith to allow them to work in getting the most recovery possible.