Forget What You Know About Evaluating Case Value
What is my case worth? Challenging an insurance company for a claim can be a tedious task. However, when you are well informed of your rights and have the right legal assistance, half the battle is won. Claims are settled by insurance companies based on several factors, and can vary greatly from case to case.
Often the first question a client asks is “what is my case worth?” This question often comes up in a free consultation. While free consultations do make way for communication between a client and a lawyer, some attorneys may abuse this opportunity by tricking clients with false promises. They may even take advantage of commonly held misconceptions about case value, such as:
- That the insurance companies will pay a hefty sum of money for small injuries sustained by the person who was not at fault
- That the medical bills determine the value of a case and it is usually two to three times the medical bills
- That the insurance companies also pay for annoyance and hassle caused to a client because of the process
So if those assumptions that most people have about evaluating the value of a case or personal injury claim are false, what do insurance companies use to determine how much a case is worth?
The Truth About Case Evaluation
The following factors are considered by insurance companies and attorneys when negotiating the value of a case. Each circumstance is different, but understanding these factors and how they affect what your case is worth can help you not be fooled by false promises and have realistic expectations regarding your personal injury claim.
The Extent of Damages
The extent of your injuries will have a large impact on how much money you will be awarded by the insurance company. If your injuries are substantial, you will get more money. Insurance companies do a lot of research on verdicts as well as diagnosis and look for ways to minimize the injuries. Visible injuries, especially those that result in permanent scarring or loss of mobility typically receive a high value, whereas soft-tissue injuries are often minimized. Of course, everyone involved in the insurance business is looking to save money without violating any law.
Damages also include damage done to vehicles or other property. Insurance companies often try to make a connection between the damage done to the vehicle and the bodily harm caused to the person(s). If there is barely a scratch on the vehicle, an insurance company will often minimize any injuries sustained.
The Client’s Personality
A client’s personality matters a lot, especially when a case goes to jury trial. If the 12 jurors who have to sit and listen to all the proceedings are sufficiently impressed by your personality, find you likable and do not feel like you are trying to abuse the system, they award you a better amount. And if they are not impressed, especially if they have a reason to believe that you are exaggerating the point or have an air of entitlement, they may not give the desired compensation. Jurors are everyday people in charge of making a decision about the condition of a fellow citizen. We all like responsible citizens in our locality or state, and jurors are no different. They try to gauge the sense of responsibility in a citizen, and if they are convinced that you are indeed a law abiding and responsible citizen, they will favor you. When you are speaking to them, be patient and explain the situation in the most appropriate manner.
Venue of Court Proceedings
The venue where the case will be tried also affects the outcome of the verdict. There are various things that a jury considers when making the judgment. The amount of money awarded also differs from jury to jury for the same case. Hence, it is important to know where to fight your case unless you are bound to a certain county.
The Amount of Liability Insurance
The amount of money that a client can get from insurance claims depends largely on the liability insurance coverage of the defendant. If the coverage is small, the plaintiff may find it difficult to get fair compensation. For example, in Georgia, drivers are required to carry a minimum coverage of $25k per person and $50 per accident. If your damages exceed $25k or those of all involved persons exceed $50k, then the coverage is insufficient. There may be other means of recovery, but what the insurance company has to pay will be limited.
If the case winds up going to trial, the same problem can arise. If the defendant does not have any property to their name, it becomes difficult to obtain the required compensation beyond what the policy is able to cover for the damages caused. In such a case, most lawyers will not want to handle your case unless you pay them a fixed fee irrespective of the claim money that will be awarded to you.
Attorney Representation in Atlanta, Austell and Gwinnett County GA
An experienced attorney who understands these factors and is honest with you about case potential is a huge asset when seeking compensation. Insurance companies often pay out more on a case when an attorney is involved, especially if they feel like they may be taken to court.
Law offices of Matthew C. Hines have several reputable lawyers who are experienced enough to fight your case and get the desired results. The reputation of the firm itself is an assurance that you are consulting lawyers from a firm who will not betray you. Moreover, you can discuss your case and ask for their recommendation. The lawyers will be more than happy to assist you during the whole process right from the beginning till the time you get your claim amount.
For more information about your case worth, contact us today. Our Car Accident Attorneys service the entire Metro Atlanta area