Personal Injury Settlements
Should I Settle My Personal Injury Claim? Is That Usually Going To Be Better Than Going All The Way To Trial?
Making a determination of whether to settle a case or go to trial is assessed based on the individual facts of your case and the time value of money. You need to make a determination of whether having money in hand right now with a guaranteed outcome and a guaranteed payment is worth it, in comparison of the uncertainty of going to trial and not being able to control the calendar, the timeframe, and the payout, if any. There is a risk of losing the case and still having to pay for the trial. Some of those risks can be avoided with a settlement but then you don’t know if you are leaving money on the table. Sometimes, juries are receptive to injuries and other times, juries are repulsed by the concept of people trying to be paid for their injuries.
It comes down to how the injury occurred, what the nature and extent of the injuries are, what amount of pain and suffering there was, and what future medical costs are going to look like. Assess that with a guaranteed settlement amount; does it make the budget work? Does it pay everyone off, between the lawyers, the experts, yourself, your medical providers, and any liens? Then, you can make the determination and be in a better position to know whether you should settle now or go to trial.
Is There A Minimum Personal Injury Settlement Amount The Insurance Company Has To Offer?
There is no minimum settlement requirement and oftentimes, insurance companies will not look to pay any monetary amount and will try to make the claimant think that they are at fault for the accident or they contributed to the accident. Or, the insurance company might throw a token sum of $500 or $1,500 or some minimal monetary sum just to close the case and dissuade the injured party from hiring a lawyer. Once a lawyer gets involved, the case gets completely assessed and evaluated and there will be a different offer made to the law firm of the injured party.
Does The Severity Of The Injury Ensure The Likelihood Of A Larger Settlement?
The more significant the injuries, the greater the monetary award or settlement amount is going to be. The two are intertwined. If someone does not have extensive injuries or treatment, then there is not going to be a large offer of money to settle the case. If someone has to go through an emergency room procedure after being taken by ambulance from the scene for X-rays, MRIs, and CAT scans, and has follow-up medical appointments for months or years, then that case is going to be evaluated completely differently than someone who gets rear-ended at a low speed. The nature and scope of the treatment is going to have a direct correlation to the total value of the case.
Will All Of My Future Medical Costs Be Taken Into Account For The Settlement Amount After A Car Accident? How Could That Affect My Settlement?
The injured party needs to demonstrate not only the treatment that they have undergone for the injury but also what future medical costs are going to be needed. What is the likelihood of a reoccurrence of the injury? You need to have a medical expert or a medical provider providing a written opinion to provide to the insurance company.
Will Having Pre-Existing Conditions Impact The Amount Of My Settlement Or My Chances Of Getting Any Settlement At All?
Having pre-existing conditions is a dual-edge sword. On one hand, if you were not in perfect health, the insurance company is going to try to belittle you and say that you contributed to the cause of the accident. However, that is just a tactic that the insurance companies use. The law in New Hampshire is that you have to assess the injured party in the manner in which they were found, which means you can’t assess their injuries based upon the perfect person. You have to assess what happened to that person with all of those conditions at the time of the accident. If that requires further treatment or more expensive treatment, that needs to be taken into consideration as part of the settlement.
If you have a pre-existing condition that was re-aggravated because of the injury, the insurance company now has to deal with your preexisting conditions. They are going to try to minimize it and try to get a pro-rata share and a reduction in any settlement amount based upon your pre-existing conditions, as those may require you to seek additional treatment beyond what a reasonable person might expect. All of these are factors in settling the case.
Are There Any Other Potential Factors That Could Limit Or Minimize A Settlement In My Personal Injury Case?
Every case is fact-determinative and what the insurance company looks at are failures to treat, failures to follow up, and failures to timely treatment. Often, someone gets in a car accident and is in shock. They do not feel pain and may have a psychological sense of embarrassment. They do not want an ambulance, they say they are fine, and they leave the scene. Within the next few days, they cannot get out of bed, their muscles have contracted, they have severe pain, and they need to seek medical treatment. The insurance company is going to claim that the injuries were not severe if you declined treatment at the scene.
If the initial physician prescribes a course of treatment and the patient does not follow through on that, the insurance company will see those medical records. The insurance adjuster will point out everything that the patient failed to do. I always tell clients that just because the doctor prescribes it or recommends it that does not mean you have to do it. You are in-charge of your body; you decide what you want to do for treatment and which medications you want to ingest. Just be able to articulate to me what you deviated from and why, so that when we get into the negotiation stage, I have a counterpoint on why you took the course of treatment that you thought was best for yourself.
What Are Some Things I Can Do To Assist My Personal Injury Attorney In Getting The Best Possible Settlement Outcome In My Auto Injury Case?
The most helpful thing you can do is to document everything. You need to keep notes, a journal, a calendar, receipts, and photographs. All of those documents become ammunition for your attorney to fire back at the insurance company to help bolster your case. Take a calendar and document each day whether you missed work or a social engagement, whether you received treatment, and what your pain level was. We can start to get a picture over a month-long period of time as to how you were feeling and how it impacted your daily life.
For more information on Personal Injury, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (603) 880-1300 today.
Contact For A Personalized Case Evaluation