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Valuing a personal injury claim requires a number of factors to be taken into account. Some of these factors include:
How much are your medical bills? Will you require future medical treatment? Future surgeries or future therapy should be taken into account if they are reasonably necessary. Often insurance companies will try to settle quickly without taking future expenses into account. They will try to pay you some money early and ask you to sign a release form that will prevent you from making future claims. That is why it is so important to make sure you know what all of your medical expenses will be BEFORE you accept money from the insurance company. The best way to make sure your rights are protected is to hire a lawyer.
Any time missed from work as a result of your injuries is also compensable. This is also true if you use sick leave or medical leave that is paid by your employer.
Pain and Suffering
A major consideration for every personal injury claim is the amount of pain and suffering endured, either from your injuries or for your recovery from those injuries. This is often the most significant component to any claim and you want to make sure that you are being compensated for this.
Many times broken bones, treated with or without surgery, heal with little or no ongoing problems. But often your recovery time and physical therapy or other treatment you may receive to fully recover should also be paid for by the insurance company.
If you are still left with ongoing pain, restricted movement, or weakness of a permanent nature after medical treatment, this is the most important factor in determining the value of your claim. Frequently insurance companies will offer you money for what you have paid out of pocket. This is not a fair value for your claim. Never forget that the claim adjuster’s job is to pay you as little as possible. In this situation, hiring a lawyer will help you protect your rights and make sure you have a fair outcome.
Most states prohibit insurance companies from raising your premiums for crashes that are not your fault. If your rates increase or your policy is cancelled, many times a lawyer can assist you in reversing those changes.
Time is of the essence in pursuing a potential insurance claim after a crash. Evidence and witnesses disappear, making it harder to develop the proof you need to prove your claim. In some states the deadline for having a lawsuit on file is as short as one year from the date of the crash. Different states have different time periods to pursue a claim. It may be important to consult a lawyer to make sure your potential claims do not become time barred.
Most minor impact crashes with no serious or long term injuries can be resolved without a lawyer. The more complicated the circumstances of the crash and the more serious the injury, especially permanent or disabling injuries, the more likely you will need a lawyer to help protect your rights and maximize your recovery. In some cases, hiring a lawyer may allow you to recover an amount beyond the insurance policy limits. The attorneys at the Insurance Justice Center are available for a free consultation to evaluate your potential case and answer any questions you may have.
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The Insurance Justice Center handles a wide range of injury claims and we’re interested in hearing from you.