When you are injured, estimating how the insurance company would value your auto accident injury claim is the best way to determine how much your injury claim is worth short of having to go to a jury trial. An insurance carrier will look at the types and amounts of damages suffered and then to the percentage of fault.
What should you include in evaluating the monetary value of your claim?
The following are the types of damages an insurance company will typically consider in valuing your auto accident injury claim:
Medical Bills: This will include services you received and/or products you have purchased to treat your injury. For instance, hospital treatment, emergency treatment, doctor appointments, chiropractor visits, work done with a physical therapist, crutches, braces or bandages, etc. These are all expenses which are usually paid for or reimbursed by the insurance company. Medical exams that are ordered in preparation for litigation are the one exception for recoverable medical expenses. This total amount of medical expenses can be used as a benchmark when estimating the total value of the claim. The type of medical damages can also impact other types of damages such as pain and suffering, lost wages and emotional distress.
Future medical expenses should be part of your settlement value estimation if your think you will continue to need medical care following the settlement of your claim. The specifics of the ongoing care you will need and how much that will cost will be given by doctor(s) and any other medical specialists you are seeing for treatment.
Emotional Distress/Pain and Suffering: This can be one of the devastating consequences of a car accident. If the resulting bodily injury from the accident is serious enough, you may be suffering from anxiety, fear or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other types of emotional distress, such as shock, humiliation or embarrassment could be the result of disfigurement. Just because there are no physical injuries, mental anguish resulting from an auto accident should not be discounted.
Lost Income/Lost Earning Ability: You may have lost time from work or if the injury is permanent, you may not be able to return to your previous line of employment. An expense you should include in estimating the settlement value of your claim is the income that you have lost due to your injury. This would include uncompensated time that you took off from work because of your injury. This should be calculated based on what you would have earned had you not been injured. You should also include your lost earning capacity in evaluating your claim if it looks like you will no longer be able to earn as much money as you did before the accident.
Loss of Companionship: The loss of a spouse as a partner is called a “loss of consortium”. This covers the loss of companionship, sexual relations, aid and comfort, affection and partnership. If the injured spouse succeeds in recovering damages, then the partner who sues for this type of damage may recover as well. In order for the jury to determine the extent of the loss of the benefits of the marriage, it will consider the strength and stability of the marriage, the care that was given during the marriage before the accident, the life expectancies of the couple and the degree to which these interests have been lost due to the accident in question. Loss of consortium claims should always be considered when determining the settlement value of your claim.
The Accident Settlement Formula in Kentucky
Placing a dollar value on your accident injury claim can be challenging but it may not be as complicated as you might think if when dealing with an insurance company to settle your claim. Insurance companies will generally readily pay money you spent or lost as a result of the accident. Lost income is typically uncontroversial if it is simply a matter of lost time from work while dealing with the inconvenience of the accident or recovering from any injuries. Formulas are used by insurance companies to help pinpoint a reasonable dollar figure for pain and suffering. The calculation can go something like this for a relatively minor injury:
Total Medical Expenses x 2 = General Damages
Total Medical Expenses + General Damages + Lost Income = Settlement Offer
Carelessness on Your Part can affect Your Recovery
Any negligence on your part that contributed to the accident can adversely affect the settlement value of your case. If you are either partially or mostly at fault in causing the accident, an insurance adjuster may lower your settlement offer by a percentage that reflects your own responsibility for the accident. Your settlement should stand at 100% of all damages and lost income that you manage to negotiate if the other driver was completely at fault for the accident and the level of responsibility is not in dispute.
The Louisville, Kentucky based Shelton Law Group is highly qualified to assist you if you or your loved one has been negligently injured. John R. Shelton of the Shelton Law Group is a Member of the Million & Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums as well as the American Association for Justice. The Shelton Law Group represents clients throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the State of Tennessee, including the following Kentucky counties: Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Taylor, Bullitt, Nelson, Fayette, Warren, McCracken, Pike, Floyd, Boone and Campbell Counties. We will work tirelessly for you until your case is complete. Shelton Law Group’s winning track record of hundreds of successes and millions recovered will provide you with the confidence you need in your fight for your legal rights. We will finance your legal battle. You only pay us if we win. That’s because we work on a contingency fee basis. We believe this is the fairest approach. Why should you pay for something that doesn’t benefit you? Contact the Shelton Law Group today. Call 1-888-761-7204 to speak with a lawyer for free today. At the Shelton Law Group – we take your case personally.
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