Fortunately, in most instances, no one will be able to tell you what your car accident claim is worth. Not until the facts have been investigated, liability (who is at fault?) is nailed down, your medical treatment is finished, and an experienced personal injury attorney has reviewed the circumstances specific to your case.
Now, if your accident happened recently, and you've never tried to settle a personal injury claim with an insurance company, you're probably asking yourself, "How can not knowing the value of my case be a good thing?"
If car accident claims had "price tags" or predetermined amounts that were set by the insurance company, then there would be no opportunity for you to plead the unique circumstances of your case. And having settled tens of thousands of personal injury cases, we are certain of one fact: No two car accidents are alike, no matter how similar they may seem.
Our firm's #1 goal is to recover the most possible compensation for our clients. We attempt to do this by presenting the unique physical and psychological components of a person's case. Not giving an experienced personal injury law firm the chance to build your case based on these factors can negatively affect the value of your claim.
That said, we understand why you to want to know the value of your case: Thoughts of immediate justice, hospital bills, and lost wages are likely on your mind. However, as time passes, most clients are very thankful that their accident didn't come with a price tag. Some of the reasons why include:
- The client's injuries worsened over time, leading to unforeseen treatments and costly procedures.
- The client didn't predict the type and/or duration of treatment their injuries required.
- The client didn't anticipate the strain the accident would place on their personal life.
- The client didn't account for the long-term psychological effects.
These points represent a few common after-effects accident victims cannot predict immediately following their accident, and each are critical pieces to an injury claim. These types of damages are also likely to have more value if they are presented to an insurance company by way of medical documentation and experienced legal representation, rather than a quick settlement. Remember, once you sign a release, you are forever barred from any future recovery.
Let's look at a specific example of why you should never try to predict the value of your car accident claim:
- Driver A is a young pregnant female with no pre-existing medical conditions. She has been involved in a rear-end car accident collision. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital for examination of back and neck pain. The doctors diagnose her with whiplash and prescribe her a course of treatment that is consistent with the needs of her pregnancy. She completes treatment and is released soon after.
- Driver B is a middle-aged male with prior back surgery. He has also been involved in a rear-end style car accident collision and is experiencing neck and back pain. He was not able to visit a doctor until two weeks after the crash due to fear of missing work and losing his job. When he is able to visit the doctor, he is diagnosed with whiplash and is prescribed a course of physical therapy. He is released soon after.
And to make the accident as similar as possible, let's suppose that Driver A and Driver B's rear-end collision occurred on the same stretch of a major interstate, such as Indiana's I-65, and they happened on the same day. Let's also assume the vehicles that struck A & B were traveling at the same speed at the time of impact. Weather conditions were the same for both accidents, and both A & B and the adverse drivers have the same insurance companies, etc.
Despite everything we know about driver's A & B accident details, their claims will have different values!
Even with all these similarities, it is very unlikely that driver A & B will undergo the similar medical treatment for their injuries, respond to treatment in the same positive manner, or experience the same types of aggravation and frustration in the days and months after their accident. Each person is unique, each accident is unique, and there are no exceptions to this rule.
"Someone told me I'll get three times my medicals. Is that true?"
This "formula" is an estimate that has often been thought of by many as a way to estimate car accident claims. And though it is true that you may receive three times your medical bills, it's also just as likely that you'll receive more or less.
In short, never assume the value of your car accident claim is simply "3 x's your medical bills."
"What am I entitled to in my personal injury case?"
There are typically 3 components we look to recover for in a personal injury case:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Past and future pain, suffering, disfigurement, and disability
"Is there EVER an instance in which a lawyer can tell me how much my accident claim is worth?"
Accidents that leave a person with traumatic injuries; broken bones; the need for surgery; permanent hardware; and/or cause death, may constitute what is known as a "policy limits demand." In these instances, a personal injury attorney at Keller & Keller will immediately notify the adverse insurance company of our representation and ask that they send us a certified declarations (DEC) sheet that reveals the total amount of available dollars under the at-fault party's policy.
Once we receive the DEC sheet we will be able to tell you how much money is available, and whether or not your injuries justify asking for the entire amount. However, it will still be very difficult to predict the value of your car accident claim, because other factors will almost certainly play a role.
For instance, we may be able to reduce certain medical bills on your behalf so that you're not required to pay back the full amount, thus increasing your settlement. We may also be able to secure Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UIM) from your policy in the event that the adverse policy limits are inadequate.
Ask an attorney to review the insurance policy.
Asking an experienced personal injury attorney to examine an insurance policy ensures you aren't leaving money on the table. Policies can be confusing, full of difficult-to-understand contract language, some of which is applicable to your case, and some that isn't. If your everyday job doesn't require you to review insurance policies, then your chance of fully understanding available coverage will be challenging. Fortunately, we have more than 75 years of locating and examining insurance polices for car accident victims.
Ultimately, speaking with an experienced injury law firm about your case is an excellent step toward determining what your car accident case is worth.
Free Car Accident Case Evaluation
No matter the size of your potential case, we offer all car accident victims a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means that we never charge for a consultation, whether by phone or in-person, and the only way our firm is reimbursed for its legal services is if a recovery is made on your behalf. No pressure. No risk.
You can speak to us by phone at 1-800-253-5537, or use our free contact form to write to us with the details of your potential case.
When you contact Keller & Keller, you're speaking to a personal injury law firm that has been handling car accident claims since 1936. In addition, the firm and its attorneys have earned several awards and distinctions throughout its many years of practice, including:
- Named to Best Lawyers in America,
- Named Super Lawyers
- Members of Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- AV-Rated by Martindale Hubbell
- Better Business Bureau A+ Rating