Forget What You Think You Know About Evaluating Case Value
Challenging an insurance company for a claim can be a tedious task. However, when a legal professional thoroughly informs you of your rights and provides the right legal assistance, you’ve won half the battle. Insurance companies settle claims based on many factors. Claim value even varies greatly from case to case even when the circumstances appear to be similar.
Clients often start by asking “what is my case worth?” This question arises frequently during free consultations. Nevertheless, while free consultations do make way for communication between a client and a lawyer, some attorneys abuse this opportunity by tricking clients with false promises. They may even take advantage of commonly held misconceptions about case value.
Some common misconceptions are that:
- Insurance companies will pay a hefty sum of money for small injuries sustained by the person who was not at fault.
- Medical bills determine the value of a case and it is usually two to three times the medical bills.
- Insurance companies also pay for annoyance and hassle caused to a client because of the process.
Since most people have false assumptions about evaluating the value of a case or personal injury claim, you’re probably wondering what insurance companies actually use to determine how much a case is worth.
The Truth About Case Evaluation and Claim Value
Insurance companies and attorneys consider the factors discussed below when negotiating the value of a case. Each circumstance is different, but understanding these factors and how they affect your case value can help you avoid being fooled by false promises. Additionally, you can develop realistic expectations regarding your Atlanta personal injury claim.
Extent of Damages
Your injuries have a large impact on how much money the insurance company will award you. Extensive and severe injuries mean more money. Insurance companies do a lot of research on verdicts and diagnoses. Moreover, they look for ways to minimize the injuries. Visible injuries, especially those resulting in permanent scarring or loss of mobility typically receive a high claim value. Conversely, most insurance companies will minimize soft-tissue injuries. 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. Often, insurance companies try to make a connection between the damage done to the vehicle and the bodily harm caused to the person(s). Therefore, 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. When 12 jurors who 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. On the other hand, 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.
Remember, jurors are everyday people deciding about the condition of a fellow citizen. We all like responsible citizens in our locality or state, and jurors are no different. Moreover, they try to gauge the sense of responsibility in a citizen and if convinced that you are indeed a law abiding and responsible citizen, the jury will favor you. When 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. A jury considers a variety of factors 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 money a client receives from insurance claims largely depends on the defendant’s liability insurance coverage. Thus, when coverage is small, the plaintiff may find it difficult to get fair compensation. For example, Georgia drivers must carry minimum coverage of $25k per person and $50 per accident. However, when damages exceed $25k or those of all involved persons exceed $50k, minimum coverage is insufficient for the claim value. Although there may be other means of recovery, what the insurance company pays will be limited.
If the case winds up going to trial, the same problem can arise. Obtaining the required compensation beyond what the policy covers for the damages caused is difficult when the defendant does not have any property to their name. In such a case, most lawyers will not want to handle your case unless you pay a fixed fee, irrespective of the claim money awarded to you.
An experienced attorney who understands these factors and is honest with you about case potential and your claim value 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 has several reputable lawyers. Our lawyers 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. We will be more than happy to assist you during the whole process, from the beginning until you receive your claim amount.