If you have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you are entitled to be reimbursed for your bodily injuries including your medical treatment and expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The settlement is made by the liability insurance company (or UM/UIM insurance company) and is done in one lump sum amount.
Your case is worth whatever a jury of 12 of your peers would give you if you were to try your case in a court of law. Now every case cannot be tried or our court system would be stalled with lawsuits. Instead, most cases are negotiated with the insurance company to come to a fair and reasonable settlement. You will want to choose a law firm that has a lot of experience trying cases in court. It is the only way to know how well your very own case would fare in front of a jury and what the true value of your case is worth. Our extensive litigation experience gives us an upper hand in being able to form a fairly accurate opinion as to the value of your case.
There are several factors that we evaluate in trying to determine what is a fair and just settlement for your claim. Some of those factors include:
- Was liability clear; is there any evidence of contributory negligence?
- The type and extent of your injuries
- The force of impact of the collision
- Venue (what county your case would be tried in if suit was filed)
- Type of medical treatment
- Length of medical treatment
- Validity of your medical records
- Credibility of your treating physicians
- Causation – will the doctors relate your injuries to the accident?
- Credibility of your testimony
- Gaps in treatment
- Amount of medical bills
- The amount of diagnostic related expenses
- Permanent disability
- Frequency of treatment
- Use of medications
- Prior medical history
- Prior accident history
- Pain and Suffering
- Out of Pocket Expenses
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of earnings or career
- Future damages
- Emotional distress
- Punitive issues
We believe that when you have these factors in your favor, then additional value is added by the insurance companies for the type of lawyer you retain. Insurance companies know which lawyers are willing to try cases and have a track record of going to court and which don’t. Our experience has shown us that trial lawyers get better out of court settlements. Insurance companies also look to see if lawyers document cases and know their clients. We have simply learned that we represent you like you are family and the insurance companies respond the same way.
How Long Does it Take? The length of your claim is first and foremost governed by your injuries and how long it takes you to heal from them. Some of our clients are completely recovered in a matter of a few months; others it may be more that a year. The point is, you do not want to attempt to settle your claim until you are 100% recovered from your injuries, or you have a doctor tell you that your injuries are permanent in nature. So while the length of your treatment is an unknown, we can tell you that once you have been released from treatment, we are able to get a settlement demand package out to the insurance company usually within 30 days. This allows time for us to collect the remainder of your medical records and bills and draft the demand. Our experience has show that the negotiation process usually takes another 30-60 days. If a settlement is reached, we are usually able to get the money in and make disbursement to you within 10-14 days, barring any unforeseen complications. If your case cannot be settled, and a lawsuit must be filed, the process takes much longer. Read more about Taking Your Case to Court.
Out of any settlement you do pay all outstanding medical bills and liens, our attorney fees, and costs owing. We let you know what you will net in your pocket so you can make a good decision on settlement. We also let you know what our opinion is as to the risk of going to trial and the cost. But you make the final decision and we are fine with whatever that will be.