What is the Value of my Case?
I'm Greg Coffey of Friedman Law Offices in Lincoln, Nebraska. Thanks for visiting our blog.
A common question people who've been injured in motor vehicle or other accidents ask us about is the potential value of their case. The honest answer - especially early on - is that it depends and the value can vary widely. There ARE some things you should know that can help you understand how your case gets evaluated when it comes time to settle. When ins cos review MVA cases to establish settlement limits - the maximum amount they think they want to pay to settle a case - they look for what I'll call red flags. Ins cos review 1000s and 1000s of cases every year. They can't get to know each individual on a personal level - to them, you're just a file. Red flags are those things that they know from experience juries seem to react to. These are things they can identify quickly so they can handle a large volume of claims without having to dig too deeply looking for a reason to say no on each claim.
The presence or absence of those red flags will affect the insurance company's evaluation of your case. Knowing what those red flags are can sometimes help you avoid making mistakes that could harm your case. 1st, was there much damage to either vehicle? If the damage to the vehicles was minimal, the ins co will want to believe that the injuries to the occupants would also have been minimal - regardless of what the actual truth is. It's simply easy for the ins co to discount settlement value based on minor vehicle damage. 2nd was there any significant delay in obtaining medical treatment? They will argue the longer it takes for you to get medical treatment, the more likely it is that your injuries were either minor or that your injuries resulted from something else after the accident. 3rd after you started medical care, were there any significant gaps in treatment? If you go several months w/o care, for example, they'll argue your injuries could not have been significant, regardless of what the truth of the matter is. Same thing if you miss a lot of appointments with physical therapy, for example, or are non-compliant with your medical treatment. 4th changing docs w/o advancing the level of care. A referral from a family doc to a specialist advances the level of care. But jumping from one primary care physician to another does not. If it's just more of the same, they'll question the necessity.
A 5th red flag is subjective pain complaints without objective medical findings. If you have chronic, ongoing pain complaints with little in the way of medical findings to explain those symptoms, it becomes a red flag. One thing that is NOT a red flag, however, is returning to work quickly. Lots of people wonder if it will make it look like they weren't hurt if they go back to work right away. Actually, the insurance co will respect that. Returning to work will show the ins co that you're motivated and not just someone looking to be paid for staying home.
If you have any questions, call Friedman Law Offices at 800-876-1093. There is never a charge to find out if we can help you (find out if you have a case). Feel free to leave a comment here on our blog, and use the share button if you know someone who might benefit from this information. Thanks for logging in.