What is the value of my Personal Injury case?

What is the value of my case?
Unfortunately, the only real answer we can give you is the dreaded attorney answer, “it depends”!

The value of a personal injury case is determined by what you have lost economically and how you have been damaged emotionally. Both can be difficult to estimate, especially at the onset of your case. While we hope to cover emotional damages at a later date, there is enough about economic damages to fill one blog post.

Economic Damages from a Car Accident

Your economic damages include things like medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. Early on, it is hard to determine how long you will need to treat or how much work you will miss. You will not have an accurate picture of these damages until you have completed medical treatment for your injuries or your doctor has told you that you have reached the maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement is a fancy insurance term that means that even though you are not back to 100%, additional medical treatment will not make it any better. Once this has occurred, your Attorney can begin to help you better understand economic damages you can look to have insurance and the offending party pay you for.

Who Pays for my Economic Damages

In an ideal world, the driver who caused the accident will have adequate insurance to cover all of your damages. Washington insurance for “bodily injury” usually covers $25,000, $50,000, or $100,000 in damages. Sadly, there are a number of people who drive around uninsured or with poor coverage limits. Should the offending driver not have adequate coverage, you can look to the driver’s possession for recovery, but if they could not afford liability coverage, they likely have no possessions to pursue.

Because of this, we recommend that you protect yourself by confirming that your insurance has “Underinsured Motorist Coverage.” This can help guarantee that if you are in an accident that at least that amount will be available to help cover your losses.

How do medical bills effect the value of my case?

Your attorney’s goal will be to help you recover insurance policy limits. The road to obtaining policy limits does take longer than you might like, but it is worth it. It will ensure that you maximize your recovery from your injuries and maximize your recovery from insurance. In addition to determining how much insurance will need to pay your providers, medical bills indicate to an insurance company how serious your injuries are. Because insurance companies are designed to make money, they are less concerned with helping people recover from injuries and more concerned with how cheaply they can settle a case. If your injuries are more expensive or require more treatment, insurance companies often see this as a risk to fight you and decide instead to offer more money to settle your claim. On the flip side, if you treat sporadically or do not follow your doctor’s recommendations, they can argue that your injury “wasn’t that bad.”

This is why we advise our clients to do all the treatment their doctor recommends with minimal breaks during treatment. Depending on your injuries, this could include months of conservative treatment, like

chiropractic care or physical therapy; a referral to a pain or orthopedic specialist; or even surgery. It’s important that if a treatment is not helping and you are still experiencing pain, that you get to a specialist who can get you on the right treatment path. Otherwise, insurance can claim you “over treated” and will try to pay you less.

There are rare occasions where policy limits are given when there is minimal treatment, but that usually is when the client has had surgery due to the accident or if unfortunately, there was a death in the accident.

A Few Points to Remember

Please, DO NOT settle your case before you are done treating. You only get once chance to be compensated for your injuries. We understand that cost can be a concern, but there are ways to help while treating. We help our clients figure out their PIP coverage and work with providers to use medical liens to postpone payment.

If you are trying to settle a claim on your own, remember that insurance companies are not your friends. They are businesses that aims to make as much money as possible. Even if they are acting nicely to you, remember that. If you are wondering whether you are getting a fair deal or not, it does not cost you anything to have an attorney review your case to see if the amount of money being offered is in your best interest.

As your personal injury attorney, we will always put your best interest first, and check in with you periodically to see how you are doing and how you feel treatment is going. We never accept an offer you have not approved. Ultimately this is your case and we just want to help you get better and be compensated for what you experienced. You shouldn’t have to bear the cost of your economic losses. Give us a call today.