How Insurance Companies Evaluate the Value of a Claim
Pursuing a personal injury case is an overwhelming process, especially if you’re also addressing injuries sustained from the accident. When filing a claim with a provider, many clients want to know, “How much can I recover after my accident?” And, if they discover that filing a lawsuit is the only way to gain adequate compensation, they’ll ask, “How much is my personal injury case worth?” These are important questions because the answers will affect how your personal injury attorney approaches your case and focuses their investigation.
If you’d like to learn more about how to maximize compensation in an accident claim, contact us at Landry Law, P.C. to schedule a consultation. We have office locations in Lone Tree and Trinidad, Colorado, but can help clients in Denver, Douglas County, Castle Pines, and Castle Rock, as well.
Not All Claims Are Equal
When you meet with your attorney, they’ll listen carefully to the details of the incident and look at all available evidence to estimate how much you’re likely to get from a settlement. No two cases are alike. An insurance adjuster will look closely to determine their odds of winning if you file a personal injury lawsuit or the odds that a jury will side with you and base their next steps on these calculations. For example, if they think you have a high probability of winning in court, they may make a larger offer upfront hoping you’ll accept so they can avoid litigation.
On the other hand, if they think their chances of winning are higher, they may try to lowball you. For instance, if they believe you played a significant role in causing the accident, they may use the comparative fault law to their benefit by trying to prove you held over 50% responsibility for the accident and should therefore lose your right to seek any damages.
Factors That May Be Considered
A settlement includes payments for any damages that occurred because of the accident, and this is typically broken up into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages cover medical costs, property damage, lost wages, or other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages compensate you for non-tangible things like pain and suffering or loss of consortium. Finally, only in the most extreme cases of negligence will punitive damages be considered, which are designed to punish the guilty party.
Your Actions Factor In
Most people want to know, “What are the factors that determine how much I’ll get for my accident?”, but the answer to this will vary and depends on your specific circumstances. An insurance company will look closely at each driver’s role in the accident and evaluate how much your actions played in it (if at all). We mentioned the comparative fault rule above, but it’s important you fully understand this.
In Colorado, fault can be shared by two parties, and your total compensation will be reduced by your share of liability. However, if it’s proven you were over 50% responsible, you’re no longer able to seek any damages. Additionally, they’ll also look at your actions after the accident. For example, if you failed to notify the police or waited a long time to get medical treatment or get an estimate for damages, your inaction could be seen as evidence you weren't seriously affected and therefore don’t need a large settlement.
Steps You Can Take to Maximize Compensation
The first thing to do to maximize your compensation is to hire an attorney. A skilled attorney can dramatically increase the likelihood you’ll reach a favorable settlement. Second, you should always seek medical attention and retain all documentation from doctors, even if you feel your injuries are minor. Start documenting everything, including the days you’ve had to miss work, time away from your family, or any way the accident has inconvenienced you. Lastly, never accept the first offer from the insurance company as this will almost always be less than you need and won’t include all the expenses you may yet incur.
Turn to Landry Law, P.C. for Trusted Guidance
If you’re in Lone Tree or Trinidad, Colorado, and would like to learn more about what you can expect from your injury claim, call us at Landry Law, P.C.