Most personal injury claims are settled between the victim and the insurance company for the party who caused the injury. Settling an injury claim with the insurance company generally means that you give up your right to demand more money or file a lawsuit regarding the injury. Therefore, you want to make sure that the settlement offer is fair. Because the settlement is final, you may want to talk with a South Carolina personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company.
What Factors Affect the Value of a Personal Injury Claim?
The insurance company considers numerous factors as it decides how much to offer you to settle your injury claim. Some of the factors that could influence its decision include:
- The total cost of your financial damages, including loss of income, medical bills, personal care, therapies, and other out-of-pocket expenses
- The type and severity of your injuries
- Whether you sustained a permanent impairment or disability
- The expenses and costs of defending a personal injury lawsuit
- Any potential weaknesses in your cases, such as allegations of comparative fault, preexisting conditions, or delays in medical care after the accident
- Whether you hired a personal injury lawyer, and if so, your attorney’s trial experience and record
If an insurance company believes that it could be liable for a high-value claim, it might make a quick, low settlement offer to avoid paying a larger amount. When an insurance company pressures you to accept a settlement offer before you complete medical treatment, it could a warning sign that your claim may be worth a large amount. It is not in your best interest to settle the claim until your doctor completes treatment and advises you of any permanent impairments or disabilities.
What Is a Good Settlement Offer for My Injury Claim?
Settlement offers are based on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. The best settlement offer compensates you for all economic losses and your pain and suffering damages. However, the insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible to resolve your claim. Your goal is to receive the highest amount possible for your injury claim. Therefore, a settlement offer usually falls somewhere between those two amounts.
To know whether the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair, you need to know the value of your damages.
To calculate economic damages, total all of the financial losses, expenses, and costs related to the accident, your injuries, and your recovery. Examples of economic damages include:
- Burial and funeral expenses for a wrongful death
- Medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctors’ bills, medications, therapy costs, ambulance bills, medical equipment, etc.
- Personal care and assistance with daily activities, including household chores
- Loss of income and benefits
- Travel expenses to and from appointments with medical providers
- The cost of modifying your home or vehicle because of a disability or impairment
- Decreases in future earnings and cost of medical/personal care because of a disability
The insurance company will require proof of all economic losses.
Calculating “pain and suffering” or non-economic damages is more challenging. You must put a price on the emotional distress, pain, discomfort, and loss of enjoyment of life. Non-economic damages also include compensation for scarring, disfigurement, and disabilities. In most cases, the more severe the injury, the higher the value of pain and suffering damages. If you are unsure how to value non-economic damages.
Contact a South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney for Help
Calculating the value of a personal injury claim can be difficult. If you are unsure how much your claim is worth, talk with a South Carolina personal injury attorney before accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer. A lawyer can offer an honest analysis of your claim to help you decide if the settlement offer is reasonable. Contact our office today.