How Do Insurance Companies Determine the Value of Personal Injury Claims?
If you are filing a personal injury claim, the first question you probably have is ‘’how much money will I receive?’’ Well, there is no set formula that applies across the board for all cases. There are so many individual elements involved in any given case, it is not possible to know exactly how much money you will get until an insurance company reviews all the relevant information. They, of course, have some formulas they apply when evaluating your claim,that helps them reach that magic number you are so curious about. Here is an overview of what insurance companies take into account when deciding the value of your injuries.
What Are You Compensated For?
The first thing that is helpful to know in determining the value of your personal injury claim is what you may be entitled to receive compensation for. Monetary aspects include medical bills, loss of income and loss of, or damage to, property. You may also receive money based on any permanent physical disability or disfigurement. Emotional suffering, such as depression, anxiety or loss of sexual function, is also considered.
Determining Settlement Amount
When determining how much to award a claimant, the first step involves calculating medical expenses, which is a matter of simply adding up concrete figures. This amount determines the base award, whose final figure will be determined after factoring in pain and suffering, loss of income and other elements that warrant compensation. For less serious injuries, this number may be multiplied by either 1.5 or 2—for more serious cases, it is multiplied by a factor of up to 5 and sometimes even up to 10. Lost income is then factored in to determine the final amount. Now, this amount is not set in stone, however, and may just be a starting off point for negotiations.
Considerations for Fault
Whatever calculations are reached when factoring in all the elements of compensation, that figure is still subject to change based on the degree of fault you had in the accident; while it is not an exact science, most cases present a pretty clear idea whether you were a little bit or a lot at fault. Whatever percentage you were deemed at fault is the amount deducted from your claim. For example, if your claim is worth 25,000 dollars but you were found 20 percent at fault, you would only receive 20,000. It is important to note that in some states, any degree of fault may disqualify you from seeking any damages at all.
Generally speaking, it is really difficult to anticipate how much money you may get from a claim; experienced accident attorneys may be able to offer you some guidance based on their past experience. They will easily be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case and give you an idea of what you might expect to receive.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing on a variety of legal topics.