In our previous posts we talked about how to determine the at fault party in a car accident and what information / proof can be used. We will continue focusing on the remainder of the process, who to contact and how to file a claim.
Who should you contact after a car accident?
Immediately following a car accident, you should contact first and foremost 911. The emergency services will then dispatch the police and ambulance to the scene.
The dispatcher will ask you a series of questions and you should answer them as accurately as possible and remain calm.
Once the police arrive at the scene, make sure that you’re accommodating and helpful as much as you can. The job of the officer is to help you and it might take him some time to get through all the steps that were in the collision. You will also need to provide your license, vehicle registration and insurance card. And don’t forget to ask for a copy of the police report. Remember, we mentioned that the report can be of huge help when determining who’s at fault.
Once you’re done with the police, you should contact your insurance company. Under the terms of your insurance policy, you are obligated to report the accident even if you’re 100% that the other driver’s at fault.
Contacting the insurance company doesn’t mean giving detailed information on the accident, whose fault it is and what happened. You need to be aware that the insurance company is gathering information for one reason only, to try and find a way to justify not paying you.
Because of this, we strongly recommend that you don’t share any more information than you absolutely have to. You might not be aware, but you can tell the insurance company something which can costly you later in the process. That’s why when dealing with the insurance company you should always do it with a lawyer.
When dealing with car accident claims, we strongly recommend that you hire a personal injury lawyer. The process of negotiating with the insurance company and filing the claim can be pretty technical and you will need help from experienced attorneys, like the ones at Schenk Podolsky who can help you navigate the process and represent your best interests.
If you’re involved in a car accident in Arizona, and heed help negotiating with the insurance company so you could get the compensation that you deserve, contact us today and let us represent you.
The majority of car accident claims are part of the personal injury law. As such, the liability is determined on the concept of negligence. So if you were in a car accident that happened due to another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to be compensated for all the losses you sustained due to your injury.
When it comes to car accidents, there are many things that can be considered as negligence:
- Texting while driving
- Merging without looking, etc.
Factors like poor road maintenance or poor car maintenance can further support your claim, and Schenk Podolsky as your car accident law firm will conduct a thorough investigation in order to determine who is really at for the collision.
Since Arizona uses the traditional tort liability system, the person at fault will have to compensate you for your damages.
Arizona follows two key statutes and applies them in personal injury cases. These are Sections 12-542 and 12-2505 of the Arizona Revised Statues.
Under the Section 12-542, which determines the statute of limitation for car accident claims, the victim has two years to file a claim for the damages he/she suffered. In the event that the victim died in the car accident, the family also has two years from the date of death to seek compensation
Under the Section 12-2505 establishes comparative negligence. This basically means that you as the victim can seek compensation even if you were partially at fault for the car accident.
How can you determine who is at fault in a car accident?
In Arizona, fault in car accidents is determined based on the law of negligence. This of course requires extensive investigation in order to determine who was actually negligent. The investigation includes:
- reviewing photos of the scene,
- visiting the scene,
- examining the maintenance records of the vehicles,
- assessing the nature and severity of the injuries of those involved in the accident and
- reviewing other documentation.
Once all the information is gathered, experts are then able to reconstruct the accident and determine who was at fault.
If others witnessed the accident, make sure that you collect their contact information because they can play a significant role in determining who is at fault. Our attorneys at Schenk Podolsky will contact potential witnesses and determine whether their statements/testimonies might be beneficial for your case.
Another source of proof and support for your case can be police reports. When you’re in a collision, the first thing that you absolutely must do is call 911. Firstly, to determine if you have any injuries (and to asses them) and secondly so that the police can come to the scene of the accident and create a report. Police reports aren’t a must-have in order for you to file a claim, but it can certainly strengthen your case. The police report will usually contain:
- The other driver’s contact information
- Contact information of witnesses (if any)
- Description of the damage on each vehicle as well as skid marks
- The officer’s determination of fault
In our next post, we will dive further in the process of filing a car accident claim and what else might you expect in the process
When your insurance company denies you to payout your insurance claim, the only logical next step is to fight back.
By the time you receive your initial denial, the claim investigator has already gathered sufficient enough evidence to support his denial in court. Of course, the investigator may be open to negotiation but he/she won’t take any further steps until you take action. But once the denial is formalized, most investigators expect the client to just give up.
Don’t get emotional
After the insurance company refuses to pay for your bodily injuries or property damages, the first natural reaction is anger. Even though this is a natural reaction to this type of news, it won’t help you reverse the decision. Denying claims is something that insurance companies do quite often and they are used to emotional reactions and threats about legal action.
The personnel at the insurance company which is responsible for claims tend to avoid such reactions but that still won’t change their decision. Most of them realize that denied clients aren’t serious enough until they start taking legal steps.
Legal strategy is essential
When you don’t find back, insurance companies often take it as a sign of a win. The only way you can reconsider their position is if you provide new fact, evidence and legal theory that will eventually force them to rethink their decision.
Insurance companies are obligated by law, to maintain reserve on their books. But what happens is that the person handling your claim simply closes your file and waits for the statute of limitation to run out. They rely on the fact that the issues can be complicated, the fight can be challenging so some number of clients will rather give up and don’t pursue the issue any further.
But if your car accident caused you severe injuries and someone else is at fault, you shouldn’t back off from a fight. If you received a denial first time around, contact Schenk & Podolsky and let us examine your file and see if there are ways we can help.
Why did you claim got denied?
In order to fight a claim denial, you first need to know what was the main reason the representative denied it. Having some idea as to why it was denied just won’t do. You need clear and precise information, preferably in writing.
Once an insurance claim is denied, the insurance company usually send an explanation letter which outlines the rationale behind the decision. If you didn’t receive your explanation letter or you misplaced it, contact your representative at the insurance company and ask for another copy.
The next step
When you have the letter in hand, take it to a personal injury lawyer who will be able to better understand its content.
Insurance companies might deny your claim for many reasons. Since the issues can often be complicated, and the process too complex to navigate on your own, you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer, who will have your best interest in mind and do whatever he/she can for you to receive the compensation you’re owed.
Riding a motorcycle is quite the unique feeling but it does require a special license and skill. It is a liberating and exhilarating feeling riding the open road, but it’s that same feeling that can put you in harm’s way and you can sustain serious injuries. Chances of getting into a motorcycle accident are not only determined by your behavior on the road, but also by the behavior of other drivers around you. Both the motorcyclists and car drivers need to keep in mind that they have to share the road.
Motorcycle accident can happen very fast, in a split of a second, which rarely gives you enough time to react and potentially avoid it. And how matter how big your motorcycle is, it is no match for a car, SUV or truck. And when a vehicle driver fails to practice caution and responsible driving, the end result of a motorcycle accident can be serious injuries or even death. So in case you do get into a motorcycle crash, you will need help from an experienced personal injury lawyer to file a civil action.
Driver mistakes that cause motorcycle accidents
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) there are four main types of errors / mistakes that drivers make which contribute to motorcycle accidents.
Braking – In order to slow down, the motorcyclist needs to downshift or roll off the throttle. Since most motorcycles don’t have a break light, the motorcyclist often miscalculate the stopping distance for both themselves and other vehicles in traffic.
Blind spots – The estimate is that nearly 50% of the space around a vehicle consists of blind spots which makes can make motorcyclist invisible for vehicle drivers. However, by properly adjusting the side mirrors can reduce the blind spots and prevent accidents
Hard to see – Motorcycles have a really narrow profile, compared to vehicles, and sometimes drivers are having a hard time seeing them. Vehicle drivers should practice extra caution and watch out for motorcyclists in different road settings, behind object and in poor weather.
Intersections – 42% of all motorcycle accidents happen on intersections. Many motorcyclists fail to yield the right-of-way to another motorcyclist who is driving straight through an intersection. This type of behavior is both dangerous and deadly.
By simply following the rules of the road, many vehicle owners can avoid hitting a motorcyclist. Even more so, vehicle drivers should refrain from negligent behavior while driving.
Dangerous driving behavior that can cause motorcycle accidents
In order to guarantee everyone’s safety in traffic, vehicle drivers should driver responsibly. In case the vehicle driver that hit a motorcyclists engaged in some of the following negligent behavior, he/she could be held liable:
- Driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol
- Aggressive driving such as speeding, tailgating other drivers etc.
- Distracted driving, whether it’s visual, manual or cognitive
- Drowsy driving which can impair one’s judgement and prompt reaction time
In the event that the driver at fault cannot be charged under criminal proceedings, you are still able to file a civil action for the damages and injuries you sustained. For this, you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer who can properly assess your damages and help you navigate the entire process of filing a civil action. So if you were in a motorcycle accident, contact us today and let us help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Injuries due to electrocution can happen literally anywhere where people work with electricity, but they most often occur in the workplace. Workers such as utility worker, electricians, cable operators and construction workers are at a much higher risk of electrocution and even suffering severe injuries than other professions. Sometime, being electrocuted can be fatal. In cases where electrocution causes severe injuries or even death, you could be eligible for worker compensation.
Causes of electrocution in the workplace
If an employee suffers injuries because of electrocution, this can be due to several reasons:
- Maybe the circuits are overloaded or damaged
- The source of electrical energy can be exposed e.g. live wire
- There are issues with the wiring
- Frayed electrical cords
- Poorly or improperly installed electrical lines
- Damaged or downed power lines
- Defective equipment or machinery
- Wet working conditions
In order to avoid electrocution and potential injuries, it’s important that both the employee and employer take the necessary precautions and protection from these types of injuries.
Electrocution injury types
Not every electrocution will deal the same type and amount of damage. Injuries caused by electrocution depend on several things e.g. the amount of electrical energy that passes through the body as well as where the electric energy enters and exits the body.
Low voltage electrical energy will most likely only shock you, cause temporary and mild pain and won’t leave any permanent injuries. On the other hand, high-voltage electrocution can be really serious. It can damage a person’s heart, cause a heart attack or even death.
Serious and high-voltage electrocution can cause a number of dangerous injuries:
- Severe burns
- Brain damage
- Cardiac arrest
- Nerve damage
- Muscle pain
After being electrocuted, it is extremely important that you seek medical attention. You may feel fine, but there might be some underlying conditions that you don’t notice yet and can be harmful later on. So it’s best to seek a professional’s opinion.
Benefits of worker compensation claims
Depending on the injuries sustained from electrocution, you might be unable to work for a temporary or permanent basis. But even though you’re not working and earning money, you still need to pay the bills and provide for your family. If the electrocution occurred while you were on the job, you might be entitled to a compensation if you file for a claim.
After the electrocution, you must immediately report it to your employer and seek medical attention. Then you can start the claim process in order to obtain the benefits you need. These benefits could be in a form of:
- Covering reasonable and necessary medical bills and assistance if you need surgery, hospital stay, medication and medical care in general
- Compensation for lost wages since you won’t be able to work temporarily or permanently
- If the resulting injuries prevent you from continuing in the same line of work, you will need to be trained in another occupation
- In case of death, you should receive compensation for the final expenses related to the death of a loved one
Other forms of compensation
Apart from worker’s compensation, workers that suffer injuries caused by electrocution, might also be eligible for other types of compensation. These compensations can include:
Personal injury in case the injury is caused by a third person. In cases like this, you can file for a personal injury claim.
Product liability if you were injured because the equipment and machinery malfunctioned. Then you might be entitled to a compensation from the machinery/equipment manufacturer. These claims however, require you to prove that the equipment/machinery was defective.
Premises liability if you suffered an electrocution injury because the property or business owner didn’t take the necessary steps in order to protect the workers for hazard.
Wrongful death claims are only possible if the electrocution resulted in the death of a worker. Then the worker’s loved ones are entitled to recover damages by filing a wrongful death claim.
What to do in case of electrocution injuries?
If you were injured in the workplace due to electrocution, the first thing that you must do (after reporting it to your employer) is to seek medical attention, to make sure that the electrocution didn’t cause any harm to your health.
Once you have your health assessed, you need to contact a skilled attorney who will represent you and investigate your injury to see if you are entitled to worker’s or other types of compensation.
In our previous blog posts we’ve summarized that car accident are life-changing events that can occur out of nowhere. One moment driving down the motor way listening to the radio, and in the next your car is totaled, your body is aching with pain and you’re trying to grasp what has happened.
We also talked about what insurance companies usually do, how they want to deny or minimize your claim payment and what reasons (or tricks) they use to deny your claim. Today we will be focusing on the tips on settling a car accident claim.
Contacting the authorities
If you wish to successfully settle your car accident claim, there are several things you need to do immediately after the accident.
First and foremost, you need to contact the authorities and wait until the police arrives at the scene. Once the police arrive, make sure to tell them exactly what happened and seek medical attention if you need to. You might not feel that you need help from a doctor, but that can be a result of the shock your body went through. So make sure that you get examined by the doctor. Once the effects of the shock settle down, you will feel the effects of the accident. This can take a few hours.
Once the doctor establishes that you’re safe and not injured, take photographs of both damaged vehicles and make sure that the license plates are clearly visible. You should also make notes about the other car e.g. the make, model, color and exchange information with the owner of the other vehicle. Taking photos of the scene and location is also a good idea because this will provide useful information on the weather, traffic signs and even skid marks.
Doing this, you’re starting the car accident settlement the right way. Also, you need to keep in mind that you might not be settling the claim directly with the owner of the other vehicle, but rather with his insurance company.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
Not all accidents will lead to a totaled car. Some will just end up with minor property damage, for which you don’t heel to have an attorney. It’s easy to settle this.
But if the accident caused severe damage to your vehicle and caused significant injuries to you, you should really consider getting help from a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer. It might help your claim.
Experienced personal injury lawyers are well informed about the process to come and can anticipate the strategies that the other side will implement so he/she can be well prepared.
The goal of the insurance company is to protect the bottom line and their self-interest. They do this by offering you very low settlements and they might even try to dispute the entire claim. But having a good personal injury lawyer in these cases can help you a lot because he/she will be negotiating on your behalf.
Recorded statements and documents
It’s not uncommon practice, that insurance company representatives will contact you as soon as they learn about the accident. The representative might sound reasonable, friendly, polite and helpful but keep in mind one thing…they work for the insurance company, not you. The goal is to minimize the value of the claim. And since many car owners aren’t exactly skilled in these matters, the insurance representatives will even try to use some rather questionable methods to get what they need/want.
One of the things they might use are recorded statements. If you get asked to give a statement, politely decline and tell the insurance representative that you will be speaking with an attorney first. This is your right before giving any statements. You might as well use it.
Another thing that insurance companies also do, is send you documents like a medical authorization or similar. The strongly advise that you DO NOT sign any type of authorization that comes from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Why? Well because then the insurance company can then dig through your medical history looking for a way to prove that some of your previous injuries were the cause of the accident.
So when settling a car accident claim, it’s imperative that you speak to a personal injury lawyer. He will be negotiating with the insurance company, he will release any medical records and advise you on giving statements.
A car accident can change your life in an instant and it can happen without any warning. As if injuries aren’t enough, but you also might need to navigate the complex and lengthy process of an insurance claim. This can be both stressful and confusing, especially if you know nothing about car insurance claims.
But the question still remains. How do car insurance claims exactly work? Here’s what you need to know about car insurance claims, especially if you were injured in a car accident.
After the car accident that you were involved, you should notify the insurance company right away. In some states you can file the claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. And in other states, different rules will apply. For example, did you know that Kansas has a no-fault insurance system? This basically means that if you were in a car accident and you’re not the at-fault driver, you have to file the claim with your own insurance company.
After the accident, in most cases the insurance companies will contact you. Sometimes even while you’re recovering. Once the claim gets filed, the insurance company appoints an adjuster who will evaluate your claim and determine its worth.
You might think that the adjuster is here to work in your favor. Well, he/she isn’t. The adjuster appointed by the insurance company works for the insurance company’s interests. The sole goal of the adjuster is to minimize the amount that the insurance company will pay you for your claim.
Working with the adjuster
It’s often the practice that the insurance adjuster will contact you in order to get more information about the accident. The adjuster might even ask you to give a recorded statement. However, if you haven’t yet spoken to a personal injury lawyer, we strongly recommend that you don’t give a recorded statement to the adjuster or any other representative from the insurance company.
The recorded statement and any other evidence is collected for processing your claim. So when the adjuster asks you to give a statement, just politely decline and let him know that you will be willing to give a statement once you consult your personal injury lawyer. In case you’re still under some stress from the accident or you’re experiencing pain and take medication for it, allow yourself some time to pass before giving a statement. Also, you can rely on your personal injury lawyer to negotiate the process with the insurance provider.
Sometimes, the car accident will only cause property damage and no one will be injured. In cases like that, the insurance claim process is pretty simple. The insurance company will ask you to take your car to the mechanic, who will then assess the damage and provide the estimate to the insurance company. Car accidents that only end in property damage is something that you can handle. So you don’t really need a personal injury lawyer.
Determining who’s at fault
It’s the adjuster’s job to determine who caused the accident and who’s at fault. Sometime, even when the police record clearly state that you’re not at fault, the adjuster will try to dispute it.
Another practice is that insurance companies sometimes want to settle a claim rather quickly. If someone from an insurance company approaches you and makes you an offer, don’t accept it. It’s best to first speak to a personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your claim. Because when insurance companies make you an offer right away, the offer is usually extremely low compared to the realistic value that you should be compensated for (the insurance company is trying to pay out as little as possible).
Once your personal injury lawyer evaluates your claim, you will realize that the offer from before was really low. The lawyer will provide you a range of values and a fair offer from the insurance company should fall within that range.
When you agreed on how much you would request from the insurance, the lawyer will draft a letter, include additional proof and send the new offer to the insurance company. The insurance company can do three things: accept your offer, offer you a lower amount or just deny it.
As you can see, the insurance claim process is not as simple. The entire process can be a complicated maze you need to navigate and that’s why it’s important that you have a good and experienced personal injury lawyer who will support you.
In the past two posts, we have discussed what to do when insurance companies deny your claim and what tips and tricks insurance companies use in order to deny your claim.
This week we will be focusing on the potential reasons WHY insurance companies deny your insurance claim. So let’s get started.
Being in an accident is stressful enough. But learning that the insurance company has denied your insurance claim is very disconcerting.
There are several reasons why they refuse your insurance claim. Some of them can be valid, while others not so much but hey still use them in order to pay you as less as possible. So if you’re dealing with an insurance claim and it gets denied, it’s good do consult with a personal injury lawyer because they know the system and are more aware what tactics insurance providers use in order to either minimize your claim or just deny it.
Cause of the accident
Many insurance companies have denied insurance claims to their policyholders simply because the accident you were in could have been avoided OR because your behavior caused the accident. Furthermore, claims have also been denied if your conduct was in conflict with your insurance policy. This practically renders your policy ineffective. And if the vehicle was operated by someone who is NOT included on the insurance policy or didn’t have a driver license when operating the vehicle…well that’s another potential reasons insurance claims get denied.
These are the most common reasons and mostly logical and valid. But what about if the insurance provider is using not valid reasons and starts acting in bad faith?
Insurance claim denied over previous injuries / surgeries
It’s a common practice that insurance companies ask their prospective policyholders to sign so called ‘medical authorization forms’. The important thing to point out about these forms is that you shouldn’t (under ANY circumstance) sign them until you’ve spoken to a personal injury lawyer. You must ask yourself ‘What’s the big deal about those forms?’. Well, when you sign those forms, you’re basically giving the insurance company permission to dig through your medical history and to look for previous injuries or surgeries.
If by any chance, you had injuries and surgeries for those injuries before, the insurance company could use that as a possible (but not really valid) reason for the accident and thus deny your insurance claim. Another example is that insurance providers may use previous injuries as an argument to diminish your injuries from the accident i.e. to present as less severe than they really are.
Another reasons why insurance companies require you to sign the medical authorization forms is so that they could see if you have any pre-existing conditions. Let’s say that you have pre-existing back injury and that you suffered new injuries in the accident. Since your back injury is a pre-existing condition, the insurance company can argue that the accident was cause because of your back problems and deny your claim.
Time of accident and time of seeking treatment
When you’re in a car accident it’s important that you seek medical treatment immediately. Waiting to seek treatment, may be another reason why your insurance provider refuses your claim. The lapse of time between the accident and treatment, can give ‘ground’ to the insurance provider to argue that your injuries are actually caused another even, not the accident.
Insurance companies go so far that they even state in their insurance contracts a specific time frame in which you need to seek treatment for your accident-related injuries. Of course, there are cases when it’s good to wait before seeking treatment and you can learn more about that from your personal injury lawyer.
Right after the accident, while on the scene, make sure that you don’t deny any injuries until you have been thoroughly checked out by a medical professional. Denying injuries at the scene of the accident may also be another reason why they deny your claim. So if you get into an accident seek medical evaluation at once.
What do to if your insurance claim is denied?
We must be clear on one thing. Insurance companies make profit from taking higher premiums from their policyholders than what they pay in claims. So their interest in denying insurance claims is quite significant.
In the event that your claim gets denied, you will need help from an experienced personal injury lawyer. Furthermore, policyholders that have a lawyer are taken more seriously.
Have you even wondered that paying for insurance is a waste of money?
Well, a lot of people have. Especially those who’s claims the insurance company denies. They have given their hard earned money for years and when they need help from the insurance company, they turn the other cheek.
Not sure if you know, but in the U.S. the insurance industry is one of the largest businesses in the world when it comes to revenue. So how do insurance companies deny claims in order to increase their profit?
1. Making your claim as confusing as possible
When you want to get new insurance, the insurance company is giving you a contract to sign. We all know about these and we read them thoroughly and carefully like the Terms & Conditions of our ne Apple iPhone i.e. we don’t. The insurance companies used so many technical terms in their contracts making them virtually impossible to understand for a common citizen who doesn’t have a Law degree. Things were so bad, that some states have passed the ‘plain English’ rule for consumer contracts.
2. Your credit score
You most likely know that insurance companies determine your premium that you’ll pay based on your credit score. Someone, due to a bad credit score can’t even get insurance because, from the insurance company’s point of view, they are a high liability. This type of discrimination is actually affecting the poor and senior citizens, since they have a little credit and also those that had a financial crisis because of someone else.
Insurance companies have also often refused someone a policy because they have no credit score, even though the person is paying his / her bills on time. On the other hand, some car owners have received a rate that is increased by several times, even though they have a clean and perfect driving record.
3. Delaying insurance claims
It’s not uncommon that insurance companies deliberately take a long time to finalize your claim. They do this because they are aware that many policyholders would rather give up than to wait for the insurance to finalize the claim. And it’s not uncommon that this type of ill practice is present at long-term care insurers who take advantage of the policyholder’s age and poor health.
4. Hanging the sick out to dry
As we know, healthcare in the U.S. can be expensive and that’s why we opt in for health insurance. Because of extremely high healthcare costs, some insurance companies have even provided bonuses for their employees that meet so-called ‘cancellation goals’. These situations involve insurance sales reps that target patients that are in the middle of their treatment(s) and when they are most vulnerable. When the healthcare for these patients becomes too high for the insurance company to cover, they cancel the policy retroactively and basically leaving the policyholder without insurance
5. Call and get your policy cancelled
A lot of people even fear calling their insurance provider and asking about for a claim because often, insurance providers quickly after, suddenly decide to cancel their insurance. If not cancelling, the next time they refuse to renew your policy OR even crank up your insurance premiums. Insurance companies often consider an inquiry about the possibility of making a claim as ACTUALLY making a claim and they will spare no resource to quickly ‘drop’ the policy holder, all in order to avoid paying them their insurance.
So what to do?
When an insurance company denies you’re your claim, they are basically leaving you out to dry. In situations like that, you need to have a good legal representative by your side. So if your insurance is denying your claim, make sure to call Schenk Podolsky and let us help you with your insurance claim or if you have a personal injury claim.
When you or a loved one is seriously injured in an accident or due to another’s negligence, it is important that you seek quality representation from a dedicated legal staff. Our attorneys understand that the legal process can be daunting and overwhelming. By interviewing any witnesses, ensuring that your injuries are well documented, and standing up for you in front of insurance companies, we make sure that your case is thoroughly handled.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s reckless behavior, we can help you file a claim in pursuit of maximum compensation.
In a personal injury case, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages, as well as punitive damages for your pain and suffering. Additionally, if you suffered the tragedy of losing a loved one in an accident caused by negligence, you can pursue compensation and justice in a wrongful death claim.
It is important to remember that in Arizona, most personal injury claims must be filed within two years from the date the injury took place. Do not delay in securing the legal representation you need!
Calculating Your Personal Injury Settlement
Suffering a personal injury can have devastating, long-lasting effects. Recovering from physical pain is only the tip of the iceberg. Rehabilitation, loss of wages from missed work, loss of personal property, disruption of your daily life, stress and worry all weigh heavily on victims. It is the magnitude of the sum total of all of these factors that must be considered when attempting to quantify the amount of personal injury compensation.
Special Damages – Bills and Financial Costs
While every case is different, courts and insurance companies both must use some sort of equation to determine how much a personal injury claim payout should be. In order to find the right number, they must gather a straight-forward, objective list of all expenses incurred from the injury first, then add in the more subjective factors to arrive at the final compensation amount.
The first part of the equation is simple. A sum total of every provable financial expense that was a direct result of the accident or injury is calculated. This number usually includes, but is not limited to:
- Medical Bills
- Damaged or Lost Property
- Cost of Medication
- Hospital Stay
- Lost Wages
- Cost of Medical Equipment
- Expenses Paid Out of Pocket
Once these items are added together, that gives you a starting dollar amount. These items are the first half of your overall Damages. Some courts refer to these quantifiable dollar amounts as Economic Damages, Medical Special Damages or even just “Specials.” This number is straight-forward and easy to prove.
General Damages – Pain and Suffering
The other half of the equation is harder to pinpoint because of it more difficult to assign a dollar amount to emotional turmoil and pain and suffering. The term General Damages encompasses all of the more subjective sufferings as a result of your injury. These General Damages can include:
- Emotional Turmoil
- Physical Pain
- Disruption of Daily Lifestyle
- Loss of Enjoyment
- Loss of Consortium
- Recklessness or Gross Negligence (for injuries resulting from another party)
Each Case Is Different
It is important to note that every case is different and many insurance companies will not want you to know that they are using a formula like this one to calculate your payout. It could work to your benefit to have this information, but not share it so the other party will not know if you value your own multiplier as less than they would.
Your best bet is to hire a Personal Injury Lawyer who can help you gather the information you need to accurately calculate and argue for your highest compensation payout.