A person injured in an accident can hire a personal injury attorney to represent him or her when suing the guilty party. The aim of such legal action is to seek compensation for injuries sustained. Several factors can affect the amount of settlement in a personal injury lawsuit, or totally blow away any chances of getting anything. Below is a look at factors influencing the settlement value that a personal injury lawyer can negotiate.
A top factor is whether or not the defendant was negligent. For any damages to be recovered, it must be the defendant’s fault that the injuries sustained. Should the defendant be found not to be negligent, then no compensation can be given. Previous verdicts and compensations for certain injuries are also a factor. Insurance companies are known to determine an amount for pain and suffering caused in a case by referring to previous jury verdicts. A personal injury attorney should look into verdicts in the city within the past five years, or those from nearby areas.
The ability of an injury victim and his or her lawyer to calculate and determine the amount of compensation is another factor. If they don’t know how to calculate, they are shooting in the dark. This is because an insurance adjustor may find out about it and give the victim a low-ball offer. Also, the settlement value depends on whether an individual can get compensated for pain and suffering after an accident. Even if an injury resulted from the carelessness of someone else, the victim does not get automatically compensated. Some cases require that victims meet the tort threshold so as to get something for pain and suffering, with the tort often consisting of permanent injury.
Gaps in accessing medical treatment are another factor. This involves waiting for medical treatment or not getting it for certain periods of time. Such gaps can reduce the value of an injury lawsuit, as the claims adjustor may argue that the injured party delayed seeking medical treatment, as the pain was not excruciating. Also, whether the victim had surgery or needs to undergo it matters. The settlement value may be much less if surgery was not part of the treatment.
Whether or not the injured party has pre-existing injury often determines the settlement amount. Insurance claims adjustors often argue that the victim’s injury was there even before the accident occurred, in an effort to pay less amounts. Certain injuries a commonly cited as having pre-existed the accident. They include low back sprains, herniated or bulging discs, neck sprains, and shoulder tears. A factor related to this is whether or not the injuries were permanent.
The victim’s doctor is a significant part of a personal injury lawsuit. If the doctor states that the injuries have nothing to do with the accident, then the victim cannot get any damages from the individual whose negligence caused those injuries. This underlines the importance of knowing the reputation of the chosen doctor with respect to accident cases.
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