PERSONAL INJURY IN KENTUCKY
CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY ANSWERS YOUR QUESTION: HOW MUCH IS MY CLAIM WORTH?
HOW MUCH MONEY CAN I GET FOR MY INJURY? 502-589-0816
LOUISVILLE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
Anna Aleksander answers your questions about the value of your injury case.
Hello and thank you for reading my blog. My blog is based on my many years of experience and in personally representing clients in their injury law claims. Because of this I feel like I am familiar with and know the insurance companies handle cases. I know all of the games that are being played by insurance companies and the defense lawyers that they hire. Sometimes you get justice but more often than not you don’t and that’s because the insurance companies do not want to pay claims.
I frequently laugh sadly when I hear people talk about lawyers and the stress involved in getting justice for the client. For example, they don’t send another doctor into the operating room to kill the patient. Well they do in the legal field and that’s obviously a problem when you are seriously injured and that’s the very reason why you need lawyers like me. When you are injured and have a legitimate claim, the insurance company hires a team of defense attorneys to try to defeat and undermine your claim to avoid paying. This can involve hiring private investigators to follow you around, sit by your house, making unreasonable requests to obtain your past private medical records, digging into your background and sometimes even dirtier tactics could be employed. Obviously dirty tactics could result in a bad faith claim which would entitle the claimant to an even bigger recovery. Nonetheless, the issue in this blog are about the settlement value of your claim.
How much is my claim worth: The answer it depends. It could take months or even years to get what you think you deserve. The insurance companies tend to undervalue claims. The worst thing you can do is accept their offer without first speaking with a personal injury lawyer. They use software and ratings to come up with the lowest value for your injuries and they try to get away with it and that’s with a lawyer. Imagine their offers without a lawyer? Well it’s even worse. They might offer a minimal amount of money to you to get you to go away. Your claim maybe worth the limits but they may offer you the nuisance value of the claim. This is a tactic to get rid of you before you seek a lawyer. I suggest you don’t fall for it and call me or another personal injury lawyer right away.
There is no hard and fast rule for determining the value of a claim and much depends on the type of claim you have. Obviously the more serious claims may require an expert determining the value of your lost earnings past, present and future and or your earning capacity. In wrongful death cases, the earning capacity of the deceased matters very much. In a car accident case, the past present and future lost wages can be determined based on the amount of money the injured person used to earn, or the number of days missed from work. The pain and suffering past present and future, the demineshment in the quality of your life, the past medical bills, the future medical bills, and the expenses incurred and which will be incurred are all part of the formula. Obviously there is no formula it is based on the elements of loss which are compensable at trial. It’s one big pot of damages and everything goes into the pot. If you are a hand model and your hand is broken, it is worth much more than another person’s broken hand. If you are a professional sports player player or a ballerina who makes money by dancing, the your broken leg is worth much more because the injury to you is financial and effects not only you physically, mentally but also your livelihood.
Some insurance companies like to pay out pain and suffering based on a certain dollar amount for each day of your suffering. The rule of thumb is to know what you may get at trial. As a personal injury lawyer I can research the average settlement value of a claim or look at past jury verdicts. Still your injury or treatment may not be the same as someone else’s. Which doctor you treated with may make a difference. If your doctor is a reputable M.D. versus a chiropractor, the amount of treatment, the length and the modalities of treatment all effect the settlement value.
Obviously at the end of the day you can’t predict with certainty what the jury might award you at trial. The settlement negotiations that take place with insurance companies and their defense attorneys take that into account.
For example if your medical bills are 10k and your lost wages are 5k and you have fully recovered, the demand amount may be as you think appropriate, however, that’s 15 k in economic damages. We can demand 2 o 3 or 4 times that amount to allow room for negotiatons. The worse the injury the higher the multiplier. This method is only one of many used because there is no statutory formula or any law requiring any particular formula.
One thing is for sure is don’t settle your case until you are satisfied with the amount. Obviously the amount you settle for should be reasonable in light of the injury suffered. If you can’t get what you think your case is worth and I agree with you, then I will file suit on your behalf.
Note that you will not be paid right away unless the insurance company just hands over the limits of their policy on day one. Instead the likely scenario will be as follows:
1. You will treat with your doctors until fully recovered.
2. As your lawyer I will request your records and medical bills from each of your medical providers.
3. I will discuss with you your expectations and make a demand for the amount that you wish.
4. Sometimes additional medical experts or medical opinions are required.
5. Insurance company will respond to the initial demand typically within a few weeks.
6. They will make an offer and I will call you. If they make an offer that we feel is too low we keep trying to negotiate. If we can’t reach an agreement which becomes pretty obvious pretty early in the case then we file suit. Sometimes it’s tempting to wait and avoid filing suit because the negotiations are moving but not at the pace you want. In other words you ask for 50k but they offer you 10 and then try to come up in small increments of 2-3k this can go on forever and this could be a delay tactic, 6 months later they moved up to from 10k to 13 k to now 18 k and finally 20k, but you really mean it you want 50k. Should you continue to wait and play their game? I’ve learned that it is better to file suit right away because a year later you could have 25k offer and a year wasted but if you don’t want 25 k then it’s useless to you it’s time that has been taken away from you and of course time is money.
What about serious injuries? Burns, loss of limb, broken bones, back injuries, neck injuries, head trauma. The more severe the injury the more likely it is to resolve sooner than later.
What about money for your medical bills while you are still treating? Most insurance policies pursuant to Kentucky No fault Laws will pay up to at least 10k for your medical bills and or lost wages. You must not have rejected the no fault protection. At times your policy may cover more than 10k if you paid extra premiums. These are no fault benefits and are referred to as “PIP” which stands for personal injury protection. Your insurance company or the insurance company of the driver if you were a passenger in a vehicle will pay and they will then seek recovery or reimbursement from the at fault party.
Copyright Anna Aleksander Aleksander Law Office,PLLC 2022. Disclaimer: This blog should not be used in lieu of legal advice and may not apply to your specific circumstances therefore please contact a lawyer.