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One of the first questions people have after how to file a claim, is what is the value of their claim? According to San Diego personal injury lawyer Joel Farar, each car accident claim is unique as are the factors involved in each accident. Determining value is not always easy and can depend on many different things.
The determination of the value of a claim usually begins with the following:
- Were there injuries and what is the extent?
- Was there property damage and how extensive?
- How much are the total medical bills?
- Is there permanent injury resulting in disability or disfigurement?
- Is there a loss of income due to an injury? How much? For how long?
- Was there a loss of life?
- Is there an inability to cope? PTSD?
- Is there a loss of an unborn child or living children?
- Extent of the loss of property
- Injury or death to passengers
All of the answers to these questions have a value. No one could ever compensate someone for the loss of a loved one. The closest anyone can come to compensation for such a loss is a monetary value for the pain and subsequent suffering that results, and no amount can ever seem sufficient for that.
Claims have been paid out in the millions for permanent injury and death and lesser impact claims can be quite high in some cases. The extent of fault involved is also a factor considered in cases involving fatality where the deceased was partially responsible. Court costs are also factored into a settlement and one party may be responsible for both claims in the event they are found fully responsible for an accident.
Your settlement may have more value if your injuries are severe and your pain and suffering are great. The following are a few of the things which give a claim a higher value:
- If death has occurred
- If permanent brain injury has occurred
- The more painful the injury
- The severity of a disability
- The invasiveness of medical treatment
- The length of time for medical treatment
- Permanent visual disfigurement
- If there were aggravating circumstances such as drunk driving
Some people think they can navigate the often complicated and sometimes tricky process of settling a claim on their own because they want to save attorney’s fees in order to get more compensation. This is unwise because the average person doesn’t understand the law and has no power to fight against insurance companies who will attempt to pay as little as possible on a claim.
Since an attorney only gets paid if they win your case, they will fight for the highest value settlement possible, and they have the knowledge and resources to litigate the toughest claims.
In most settlement cases, an attorney receives 1/3 of a settlement for their time, expertise, and work in court on your behalf. Without the representation of an attorney, you can expect to receive an extremely low, quick payoff that many people take thinking it is the best they could receive. The worst thing anyone can do is attempt to settle a claim without an experienced attorney.
There are costs involved in litigating a claim which must be paid from any settlement received: attorney’s fees, various case costs such as court filing fees, medical record retrieval, investigations, and medical expenses or medical liens.
The federal government and the State allows doctors and hospitals to recover costs for services provided and owed. This is called the right of subrogation and the right to recover will be pursued through the settlement award.
An attorney can advise a claimant on the possible value of their claim only after knowing all the facts of their case. Negotiating with insurance companies and other entities can also raise the value. If you have been involved in an accident and you are seeking compensation for your injuries, it is always best to consult with an attorney to learn the value of your claim and to receive the highest settlement.