You may have your heart set on a million-dollar personal injury settlement. However, many offers are much lower. No matter how much you’re hoping to get, you can take actions that will increase the value of your personal injury settlement.
What Is Your Injury Claim Worth?
In a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover compensation for two types of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are those that are quantified by out-of-pocket expenses. They include medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and alterations to your home to accommodate your injuries.
Non-economic damages are not as easy to gauge. They include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium (relationships with your family). Some insurance companies use formulas involving the amount of your economic damages, time since you were injured, and other factors to place a value on non-economic damages.
You may also be eligible for punitive damages. These do not compensate you for losses. Instead, they punish the at-fault party for particularly wrongful actions. They are more common in drunk driving accident cases. Punitive damages can reach millions of dollars, so it’s crucial to maximize them when possible.
Personal Injury Settlement Calculator
The settlement calculators online cannot provide an exact amount you will get in a personal injury case. However, when you talk to a lawyer, they can offer a knowledgeable estimate of how much they have seen cases like yours settle for with the same insurance company.
To determine your case’s worth, you should total your economic damages. That would be the minimum amount you need to get total compensation. However, you also deserve financial recovery for your non-economic damages. A lawyer can help you maximize the non-economic and punitive damages the insurance company may dispute.
What You Can Do to Maximize Your Settlement?
You can do many things to maximize the amount of money you get out of your economic and non-economic damages. The more information you can provide to support your claims, the more money you can get in your settlement.
Get Prompt Medical Treatment and Follow Up
It’s essential to get immediate medical treatment after an accident and attend all scheduled appointments and follow up with specialists. Your initial medical care will establish the severity of your injuries. Additional medical treatment, including physical therapy and surgeries, will contribute to the longevity of your pain and other symptoms.
Save Medical Bills and Work Records
You should save your medical bills and any medical records that detail the severity of your injuries, treatment provided, or future treatment needed. You should also maintain a record of all lost wages through check stubs, printouts showing used PTO, sick time, and vacation time, and statements from your employer about the status of your employment and work abilities. If you work with a vocational therapist, you should get documentation from them detailing how your injuries limit your ability to work.
Take Pictures and Videos
Make sure you take pictures and videos at the scene of the accident. You should also take photographs of your injuries as they heal. Before and after photos of your car or other property that was damaged are also important. This documentation will help your attorney prove what happened and the results of the accident over time.
Keep a Post-Accident Journal
Your post-accident journal should detail how the accident has impacted your life. Keep lists of medical providers, their contact information, and any prescriptions you are given. Writing down details about your pain and how your symptoms affect your life is vital. Your spouse, partner, children, or other family members may also consider keeping a journal to detail how your accident has impacted them.
What Could Hurt Your Claim?
While you should be focused on healing, you must also be aware of tricks the insurance company will use to delay or deny your accident claim. Remember that the insurance company is trying to make money for its investors. They do this by paying out as little as possible to accident victims.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company Alone
Although you may have to report your accident to the insurance company within 24 to 48 hours, you do not have to give them details immediately. Tell them that you will have your personal injury attorney contact them with a complete statement about what happened. They may use your words against you to blame you for what happened.
Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
The insurance company may make a lowball settlement offer that won’t cover all your losses. Never accept the first offer from the insurance company. Your attorney can show them all your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages and make a demand for full and fair compensation. It usually takes several months of negotiation for an insurance company to make their “last and best” offer.
Don’t Post About Your Accident on Social Media
Understandably, you would want to tell family and friends that you survived a severe accident. However, you should never say, “I’m fine.” The insurance company will use that against you, claiming that you weren’t as hurt as you claim. Ensure your social media pages are private and do not post details about your accident.
If you need to update everyone, provide only minimal facts. For example, you can post something like, “I was in an accident today, and I’m thankful for the well wishes.” You don’t need to give any more details about the accident or your condition.
How Can an Attorney Increase Your Settlement?
One of the best ways to increase your personal injury settlement is by working with an attorney. In fact, according to a Nolo.com study, people who did not use a lawyer in a personal injury case got an average of $17,600 compared to people with a lawyer, who received an average of $77,600 in total compensation. Your attorney has extensive experience and many tricks up their sleeve to get you the most money possible.
Working with Expert Witnesses
Personal injury lawyers often work with expert witnesses who can adequately determine how much your case is worth. An economist may be able to look at how much future medical treatment you will need and your ability to work and determine the value of your claim. Other experts can estimate expenses for specific losses so that they can be added to your demand to the insurance company.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are more apt to negotiate with a lawyer than the victim of a car accident. Personal injury attorneys know the language to use and how to threaten further legal action if necessary. Additionally, most attorneys have specific education that has trained them on how to negotiate effectively. This will benefit your case when going up against a large insurance company that wants to talk you down.
Accurately Calculating Your Claim
It’s impossible to know precisely how much money you will need to cover all your losses after an accident. However, most experienced personal injury attorneys know where to find all your damages. You mustn’t leave anything out. You may need future medical treatment and surgeries that you cannot anticipate. A knowledgeable attorney who has handled cases like yours will be able to include obscure past and future economic damages and non-economic damages. They will also consider whether your case is eligible for punitive damages.
Call Davis Injury Lawyers for Help
You need to act immediately if you or a loved one were hurt in an accident. You can take specific steps to increase your personal injury settlement value. One of your first steps should be to call a lawyer who can evaluate your claim and begin collecting evidence.
Call Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC, today at 313-462-7979 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.