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How much is my car accident injury claim worth?

"How much is my car accident injury claim worth?"

Fortunately, in most instances, no one will be able to tell you what your car accident claim is worth until the facts have been investigated, liability is firmly established, your medical treatment has concluded, and an experienced personal injury attorney has reviewed your case specific circumstances.

"Why is this a good thing?"

If the amount of recovery for your car accident claim was predetermined by the insurance company, then there would be no opportunity for you to plead your case according to your individual circumstances: Not allowing an experienced personal injury law firm to present your individual case to the insurance company based on its own unique merits will severely affect the value of your claim.  

It's not unreasonable for you to want to know the value of your case shortly following your accident. Thoughts of immediate justice and a pile of hospital bills are likely on your mind.      

However, as time passes, clients soon become thankful that no one placed a price tag on their accident. Why is this?

  • the client wasn't fully aware of their total injuries
  • the client didn't foresee the type and/or duration of treatment their injuries required
  • the client didn't anticipate the strain it would place on their personal life
  • the client didn't account for the psychological toll it exacted from them while riding in, or driving, a car again. 

Though these are only a few of the more common after-effects that an injured person cannot account for immediately following their accident, they represent some of the most critical pieces to your injury claim. And each of these examples are much more valuable if they are presented to an insurance company through medical documentation and expert legal representation, rather than a knee-jerk reaction that calls for immediate compensation. Remember, once you sign a release, you are forever barred from any future recovery.

Lets look at a more specific scenario:

  • The driver of car A is a young pregnant female with no pre-existing medical conditions. She has been involved in a rear-end style 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.
  • The driver of car B is a middle-aged male with prior back surgery. He has also been involved in a rear-end style 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.

As for the details regarding the accident, let's suppose that Driver A and Driver B's rear-end accidents occurred on the same stretch of I-65, and on the same day. As well, the adverse drivers who 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 drivers A & B, their claims are very likely to have different values!

Even with all these similarities, it is highly unlikely that driver A & B will undergo the same type of 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 often thrown about in personal injury lore. 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. And while this answer does not provide dollars and cents, it is an honest answer, and one that will prove much more valuable to you while you recover from your injuries.

"What am I entitled to in my personal injury case?"

There are three components to any personal injury case:

  1. Past and future medical bills
  2. Past and future lost wages or loss of earning capacity
  3. Past and future pain, suffering, disfigurement, and disability 

"Are there any instances in which a lawyer can tell me how much my claim is worth?"

Accidents that leave a client with broken bones, the need for surgery, permanent hardware, or an extended hospital stay, may constitute a policy limits demand. In these types of cases, Keller & Keller will immediately notify the adverse insurance company of our representation and require that they send our firm a certified declarations (DEC) sheet that outlines the specific coverages for their insured. 

Once we receive a copy of the DEC sheet we will be able to tell you how much money is available, but it will still be very difficult to determine the total amount of your recovery, as other factors will undoubtedly be present. For instance, Keller & Keller may be able to reduce certain medical bills so that you are not required to pay back the full amounts, 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.

Asking Keller & Keller to review an insurance policy ensures you aren't left in the dark. Policies are confusing, full of pages and pages of contractual language, some of which is applicable to your case, and some that isn't. And if you aren't in the practice of reviewing theses policies everyday, then reading one can be overwhelming and interpreting it will be equally daunting.

Having Keller & Keller speak with you about your case is an excellent first step toward determining what your injury claim is worth. It costs nothing, there is no pressure, and you'll be receiving expert advice from an AV-rated law firm that has ONLY practiced personal injury law since 1936.

Jim Keller
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Senior Partner at Keller & Keller Law Firm

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