Everyone wants to know how much money they can expect to get when they file a personal injury claim, preferably with a simple, easy, upfront number. Unfortunately, the answer truly is, “it depends!”
There are so many factors that go into determining a settlement, both in terms of how little the insurance company thinks they can get away with offering, and how much your injury is actually worth. But there are three main factors that will determine a settlement offer.
Did you decide not to get checked out by a doctor after your car crash? Did you go to a doctor, but skip your follow-up appointment, forgo physical therapy, or not finish taking the prescriptions written for you? If you are ever in a car wreck, slip and fall in a store or restaurant, or are injured in some other way through someone else’s negligence, it’s extremely important to always see a doctor to get evaluated for any potential injuries, even if you don’t think you were seriously injured! Many injuries, especially soft tissue injuries, may not be immediately obvious or may only worsen without treatment rather than get better on their own.
When you do see a doctor, it’s important to always follow all of your doctor’s orders and recommendations until you receive a clean bill of health from them. This is because the insurance adjuster will be going through your medical records and bills with a fine-tooth comb.
A personal injury claim is supposed to help you get compensation for the money your injury cost you, so if you can’t prove that your injury cost you money (because you didn’t receive treatment that you were billed for), your claim may be denied. Likewise, if you skipped follow-up treatment or physical therapy when it was recommended by your doctor, your compensation for pain and suffering could be reduced because the insurance adjuster will claim if you were actually in pain from your injuries, you would have gone.
It’s very common for insurance adjusters to try to deny claims when the victim has a pre-existing condition, because they’ll try to claim your injury and pain is only the pre-existing condition and not the fault of their client. However, with the help of a lawyer, you can fight these denials of coverage.
Pre-existing conditions cannot prevent you from getting compensation in an accident if the pre-existing condition is not the sole cause of your injury. For example, if a car crash made a pre-existing condition worse, you could still be eligible for compensation.
However, the amount of compensation you can get may be smaller when pre-existing conditions exist, because you can only get compensation for the exacerbation of the injury, not the pre-existing condition itself. If you have a pre-existing condition, we recommend hiring a lawyer to make sure you aren’t unfairly denied compensation after an accident caused by someone else.
On the flip side, a pre-existing condition can also make it easier to prove you were injured and deserve compensation after an auto wreck. This is because your healthcare provider will likely have clear documentation of that pre-existing condition and how it affected your health and level of pain. Your doctor can act as a witness to the difference in your health and pain levels before and after your crash, and how the crash made them worse.
Lawyer Experience and Reputation
Insurance adjusters make lowball offers because they know that most injury victims don’t know how high their injury costs could actually end up being. They also know victims are often reluctant to turn down a low settlement offer either because they have been told that they won’t get anything if they do (which is UNTRUE) or because they are desperate and need money right away to pay their mounting bills.
However, when victims of negligence hire a lawyer to negotiate for them, insurance companies will be way less likely to try to play tricks, because they know they have less chance of getting away with it. The better your lawyer’s experience and reputation, the greater your chances of resolving your claim quickly, efficiently, and for an amount that matches what you actually need and deserve.
Insurance companies are also usually less willing to try to fight you on the money you are owed when they are dealing with a locally-based lawyer, because they don’t want to go to court against a local firm. They’d rather go up against an out-of-town law firm with limited local connections who are unfamiliar with all the important players who may be involved in a trial. Local lawyers are also more invested in the communities in which they live, which often means they are more motivated to get you the best result possible for you, rather than just wrap up the case with as little travel and engagement as possible for them.
Go in with Every Advantage at Your Disposal
Personal injury claims can be frustrating to handle on your own, especially if you are simultaneously dealing with a painful injury that’s limiting your ability to work or do the other things you normally do.
So don’t make it harder than it needs to be: contact the team at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce today, and we’ll take the load off your shoulders so you can simply focus on your recovery. We have extensive experience in negotiating with insurance companies for settlements that actually get our clients in Georgia and Alabama the money they need. And when those insurance companies don’t want to cooperate, we’re not afraid to go to court to win our clients a favorable verdict.
The best part is, the lawyers at our firm work on a contingency basis. That means you pay no upfront fees, and only pay if we win your claim, so there’s absolutely no financial risk.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.