Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a settlement formula. There is no magic equation such as “medical expenses times X.” We have heard on numerous occasions where accident victims were improperly advised by counsel that such a formula exists. Properly evaluating motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury cases is challenging. Our civil tort system requires juries to place a value on injury cases, but the dollar amount for any specific injury is hard to quantify and entails many factors.
Formulas Such as Three Times Medical Bills
Each case is different, the medical expenses will be different, the lost wages will be different, and if a settlement happens to be three times the medical bills, it is purely coincidental. The way to go about evaluating a case is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a case, what makes the case different than similar ones, and to think about what a jury may award someone based on the specific facts of the case. In some cases, three times the medical expenses might be a fair settlement but in other cases, such as where there are low medical expenses, it may be an awful settlement. For example, cases involving a concussion, broken ribs, or fractures that do not require surgery, may have low medical bills and a small amount of medical treatment, but that does not negate the suffering that each of those conditions causes which needs to be fairly compensated.
Settlement Multiplier Talk May Decrease Your Settlement Offer
Attorneys who are trying to achieve maximum compensation for their clients should avoid talking to adjusters in terms of “x times the medical bills and lost wages.” The value of a case is what a judge or jury would award a Plaintiff based on the individual strengths and weaknesses of the case. But exactly why is it harmful to talk about multipliers or formulas in settlement negotiations? Insurance companies deal with a lot of lawyers, some are excellent and others do not have a clue about how to maximize the value of a claim. When an attorney starts engaging in talk of formulas or multipliers, it signals to the adjuster that the attorney is an inexperienced advocate who looks at their client as a number and who may not be able to effectively advocate for their client at a trial if one were initiated. When the insurance company does not feel like a lawsuit is a real threat or that the attorney might not be able to pull off a successful trial, that translates into lower settlement offers.
Is There a More Accurate Way to Figure Out the Value of a Case?
You are not going to be able to find the exact value of your case online, but we have resources to help. Follow the link to read more about how to determine what your accident claim is worth.
Hiring Skilled Counsel for Your Injury Claim
Insurance adjusters know that you must accept whatever they offer you or take the matter to trial. They know that most claimants will not file a lawsuit and that in order to do so, you would likely need to retain an attorney first in order to be successful and navigate the pitfalls of the litigation process. Therefore, regardless of the size of the claim, having a personal injury attorney present your case to the insurance company may cause them to take your claim more seriously and may result in higher settlement offers. If you or a loved one suffered injury due to the negligence of another, we would be glad to speak with you about your case and we will let you know if we think we can help you maximize any recovery. For a free consultation, contact us at (919) 348-7727.