Factors That Affect the Value of Your Personal Injury Case

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Personal Injury Claims

There are a number of factors that affect the value of a personal injury case or claim.  Like people, each personal injury case is unique.  As such, individual attention should be given to a particular claim or case.  While each case will have its own set of facts and circumstances, here are some factors that may affect the ultimate settlement value or jury verdict on a personal injury case.  The factors are not listed in any particular order.

Liability or Fault

In Florida, the courts recognize comparative fault as the law of the land.  In other words, liability can be apportioned between more than one party.  If the personal injury victim is determined to be partially at fault for the accident or incident, this can negatively affect the value of the case.  In some other cases, liability can actually add value to the case when the conduct at issue on the part of the at-fault driver or party is reckless in nature.  A prime example involves a drunk driving or distracted driving incident causing serious personal injuries.

Insurance Coverage

It should be noted that a personal injury case or claim can be evaluated.  If the injuries are serious and permanent in nature, the settlement value can go into the six figures ($100,000 – $999,9999) and even into the seven and eight figures if the injuries are significant and catastrophic in nature.  Unfortunately, in far too many cases, there is no insurance or limited insurance in place for the accident or incident related personal injuries.  For instance, let’s assume that an injury victim suffers a neck injury that requires surgery.  The at-fault driver only had $10,000 for automobile insurance and the victim did not carry under-insured motorist insurance.  Under these facts, the settlement or verdict could have been into the six or seven figures; however, due to the limited insurance, it is likely that this case will settle for the policy limits in most cases.  

Medical Bills

Past and future medical bills are factors that are considered when evaluating a personal injury case.  If an injury victim only gets $1,000 or less in treatment, the case will have a very limited value.  It should be noted that insurance companies carefully evaluate the medical bills as well.  As such, an injury victim should be careful as to where and how much treatment is received.  An injury victim should treat to the extent that the treatment is reasonable, necessary, and beneficial.  

Diagnosis of Injuries and Diagnostic Testing

Another factor that affects the value of the case involves the diagnosis of the injuries and diagnostic testing for the injuries.  X-rays can help detect fractures.  MRI studies can help diagnosis injuries to the ligaments, tendons, neck and back discs, and other injuries.  There are other diagnostic tests as well that help pinpoint the diagnosis. It is also helpful if the treating medical provider links or connects the findings on the diagnostic tests to the accident, incident, or crash.  

Medical Treatment Sought and Obtained

A case or claim can be affected by the type and amount of treatment sought and obtained. For instance, let’s say an injury victim only goes to a chiropractor about 20 times or so.  He does not receive any other treatment or diagnostic testing.  This case would be evaluated differently than a case involving a victim who received pain management injections, MRI studies, and treatment from medical specialists.  The severity of the injury can be defined in some respects by the amount and type of medical treatment.

Gaps in Treatment

If there are significant gaps in treatment of one month or more, this can adversely affect the value of the case.  Of course, each case is different.  As such, if undergoes surgery and therapy following the surgery, then the subsequent one month or more gap in treatment may not have much of an effect.  Again, every case is unique and should be handled according to the distinct facts and circumstances.

Permanency of the Injuries

If the injuries are short term in nature, this can have an adverse affect on the value of the case.  Insurance adjusters, especially those who handle automobile accident, trucking accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, and pedestrian accident personal injury claims, will not put much of a value on a case without a final report or progress note documenting a permanent injury.   For most automobile accident and related cases, there must be proof or a showing of a permanent injury to be entitled to damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.  For non-motor vehicle related cases, adjusters still evaluate the cases with a permanent injury differently than those without such a personal injury.

The above factors are just a few of many factors that can affect the value of a case. It is important to have legal guidance, advice, and representation to guide the personal injury victim through the many issue and challenges that arise in most cases.  Typically, the earlier the personal injury victims gets a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney in place – the better. At Wood, Atter & Wolf, attorneys have been represented personal injury victims in Jacksonville and throughout the State of Florida since 1957. At Wood, Atter & Wolf, the attorneys will be On Your Side – At Your Side.  Contact Wood, Atter & Wolf right now for a free consultation regarding your personal injury claim or case.

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