How Much Is My Car Accident Worth?
If you’re wondering “How much is my car accident worth?” the answer is… it depends. Yes, it’s a typical personal injury lawyer answer. But there’s a good reason for it. There are many factors which combine to both increase and decrease the value of your car accident.
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Factors Which Increase The Value Of Your Car Accident Claim
Severity of Injuries—if you have severe injuries, your case is generally worth more. The theory is that juries assign value to a case based in large part on the medical treatment involved with the case. You can imagine a jury considering a case with $1,000.00 of medical treatment (an ER visit and a follow-up), vs. a case with $45,000.00 of medical billing (a broken bone, surgery, and physical therapy).
Consistent Treatment—It’s not enough to have injuries from a car accident. You also have to seek treatment very soon after the accident and follow through with that treatment. The reason is two-fold. First, seeking treatment soon after the accident shows that the accident caused the injury. Second, completing your treatment demonstrates how the injury affected you and also serves to increase your medical billing. Besides, you deserve to be treated and brought back to full health.
Lost Wages—If the accident gives rise to missed hours at work, your personal injury lawyer will include your lost wages in the demand package sent to the insurance adjuster. Your employer will have to sign an affidavit establishing your rate of pay and the amount of work you missed. This Lost Wages Affidavit goes a long way toward increasing the value of your claim. If you take paid time off or (“PTO”) instead of missing work, your injury attorney will calculate that into the figures as well.
Special Damages—Some accidents give rise to what are known as Special Damages. These are losses in addition to the more typical losses described above. For instance, a senior in high school who is the victim of a car accident misses her last year of Track and Field. Or, a car accident on the way to the prom causes the victim to miss the prom. Missed graduations, birthday parties, and vacations can all be included in special damages and presented to the insurance adjuster.
Working With A Personal Injury Attorney—In our experience, working with a personal injury attorney is typically going to increase the value of your case. There are multiple reasons for this. First, the attorney understands how to establish the value of your case or claim. Second, the attorney can defend your case against an insurance adjuster who is arguing a lower value of the case. Third, an attorney means the threat of a lawsuit. Insurance companies are interested in avoiding lawsuits especially if their driver was at fault in the car accident. The cost of the avoided lawsuit can help to increase the value of your claim. Lastly, your personal injury attorney will typically be able to negotiate some of your medical billing for you. While this may not increase the settlement value, it should help to put more of the settlement in your pocket.
Factors Which Decrease The Value Of Your Car Accident Claim
A History Of Claims—If you have a history of personal injury claims, it will be used against you. Insurance companies share information with one another. Even if you have legitimate injuries from this car accident, the fact that you have 4 prior claims will be used to insinuate that your claim may be fraudulent.
Contributing Factors—If the police report from the car accident states that you contributed in some way to the car accident, you may be barred from recovery due to North Carolina’s Contributory Negligence rule. The essence of this rule is that if you are found to be 1% responsible for the accident, a jury will be instructed to award you nothing. Personal injury attorneys encounter this defense every day, and can typically negotiate a successful settlement despite it. However, it must be taken into account.
Gaps In Treatment—If you fail to seek treatment soon after the accident, or if there are large gaps in between treatment, the insurance adjuster will argue that your injury was not severe. In the alternative, the adjuster may argue that you were possibly injured in some other manner and are blaming the accident for your injury. This generally results in a discounted settlement as it relates to paying your medical bills. It’s important to see your doctor as instructed. If your doctor can’t help with spinal or soft tissue injuries, consider treating with a Charlotte Chiropractor.
Statements Made To Insurance Companies—It’s OK to give a statement to an insurance company after the car accident. However, it’s important to be very careful when discussing the facts of the car accident. You can trust that the conversation will be recorded (NC is a “One Party” state). Additionally, the insurance company does not need to tell you they are recording the conversation. If you say anything which can be used against you, we can guarantee it will be.
Settling Your Claim Without An Attorney—There are certainly some claims which do not warrant the use of a personal injury attorney. When we speak with clients about those claims, we try to give them guidance and assistance to enable them to settle the case on their own. The large majority of car accident claims are well worthy of working with a personal injury lawyer. Your rights will be protected, your attorney will help to maximize the value of your claim, and you can let someone else do the work and the worrying for you.
We hope this article helped answer the question “How much is my car accident worth?” You can get more questions answered by reading over 100 articles we have written in our Personal Injury Blog on this site. We have articles covering everything from Medical Payments Coverage to determining a Fair Settlement amount.
Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been in a car accident and you’re wondering “How much is my car accident worth?”, get a case evaluation today by calling 704.749.7747 or clicking for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will reach out to you. There’s no obligation to hire us, and we’re here to help. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.