Recovering from a personal injury accident involves a myriad of different things, all of which are important to the ultimate goal of getting back to your everyday life. When you are injured, getting a fair assessment of the value of your claim is a priority.
You want to know how much your claim is worth and what things could affect its value. You may be wondering how these items affect the dollar value placed on your settlement. It is important to understand the factors that affect the value of your injury settlement to get a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your claim.
Much of the value of your settlement comes from the value of your pain and suffering , emotional distress, and loss of normal body function. Unlike your economic damages for things like medical bills and lost wages , there is no black and white way to calculate your non-economic damages.
Instead, you add up your economic damages and apply a multiplier to arrive at an approximate value for your settlement. Most of the multipliers are around 1.5. However, they range from 1 in cases with minor injuries to 5 in cases with very serious injuries for life. There are a number of different factors that determine whether you get a higher or lower multiplier.
Factors that make a higher multiplier:
If these circumstances are present in your case, your multiplier could be on the high side:
- Broken bones or any injury to the hard tissues of your body rather than soft tissues such as muscles
- Traumatic brain injury
- Damage to nerves and spine
- Joint injuries, especially if they require surgery or reconstruction.
- Medical treatment from doctors, specialists, and hospitals, rather than chiropractors or assistants.
- Medicines to take short or long term.
- A large number of follow-up appointments.
- Medical costs that are primarily for treatment rather than diagnosis
- Permanent loss of use of one or more body parts or functions
- Injuries that take a long time to recover.
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement.
- Injuries that affect your daily life, such as injuries that make it difficult to walk, stand or sit, travel, or work specific jobs
- Injuries that cause you to miss important things in your life, such as needing to be absent from school to recover, missed vacations, or not being able to play sports that you used to enjoy
- Injuries that cause you to depend on other people in ways you didn’t need help before
Factors that cause a multiplier to decrease:
If these elements are present in the case, it is more likely that you have a lower multiplier in your case:
- Injuries only to soft tissues. Your injuries can include sprains, strains, pulled ligaments, and bruises.
- Expenses that are primarily for medical diagnosis rather than medical treatment
- Treatment of people who are not doctors, such as chiropractors or assistant therapists.
- Lack of need for medication.
- Just a brief period before you come back to life as usual.
- No permanent injury or loss of use that lasts forever.
- No visible scars
- You can still take care of yourself without extra help
- Only a few doctor visits needed
These factors are not the only thing used to assess the settlement of your injury. Both you and the other party will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your overall case.
If your case is very strong and the other party’s liability for your injuries is apparent, you are more likely to get a higher settlement. On the other hand, if there are issues in your case, such as a lack of witnesses or some debate about the nature and extent of your injuries, you are more likely to have a lower injury settlement.
Other factors that could affect the value of your personal injury settlement include:
- The credibility of your witnesses.
- If your witnesses are biased or tell conflicting stories
- Lack of medical records to document your injuries.
- If you share responsibility for any part of the accident.
- If any pre-existing conditions could have contributed to your injuries
- If there is other evidence to corroborate witness testimony, such as photographs of your injuries or property damage
- Admissions of the other party regarding liability
- If you seek medical attention immediately after your injury.
- If you carefully follow your doctor’s advice and treatment plan.
- Carefully submit your claim for recovery, including naming the correct parties, meeting procedural requirements, and meeting filing deadlines
The value of your case could change
You could end up getting what you think is fair value for your claim. You could get more and you could get less. Bringing a lawsuit in court is not always predictable. It is a good idea to do everything you can to maximize your claim.
However, an evaluation of your claim is only an estimate. There are things you can do to maximize your claim , and there may be things that are out of your control. While you do everything you can to present the best possible case, ultimately the value of your settlement is what the other party agrees to pay you to resolve the claim.
How can an attorney help?
A qualified Las Vegas personal injury attorney is skilled and experienced in the assessment of claims. They can learn about your case and use their experience to provide you with a realistic understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and a probable value of your claim.
If there are things your attorney can do or instruct you to do to maximize the value of your claim, they will provide you with clear instructions. Ultimately, your attorney’s experience can help you make smart decisions at every stage of the case, and can help you take steps to get the most out of your injury settlement.
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