The amount of money an insurance company is willing to settle for a personal injury can vary greatly. Many factors go into the settlement amount. It can be a complicated and tricky process. According to staff writers for Avvo.com, the typical formula for dollar amount is medical damages plus general damages plus lost wages.
When you file your claim, you should let the insurance company know what amount you would be willing to accept as settlement. Be sure to keep all of your medical bills and documents. Keep a total of all days you missed from work and any lost wages.
Medical bills and lost wages are easy to calculate and total. General damages are a little less straightforward. General damages include pain and suffering, permanent disability, emotional damages (stress, depression, anxiety, etc.), and “lowered quality of life.” Lowered quality of life is a broad and open to interpretation. If, for example, your injury causes you to miss your daughter’s wedding, it is hard to put an exact dollar amount on that, but it is certainly something to be considered in a settlement.
Insurance adjusters typically apply a multiplier to your medical damages to calculate the general damages. Minor injuries may have a 1.5 or 2 as a multiplier, and more sever ones can be 5 or even 10. The insurer will also look at who was at fault in the accident, and how negligent either party may have been. If, for example, they determine that a jury would find you 20% at fault for your injury, they may reduce a $100,000 by $20,000. Personal injury claims are often tricky, and you would be best served to hire an experienced attorney to guide you through the process.
Keep in mind that insurance companies do not represent you. They often have a vested financial interest. Consult an attorney before accepting any settlements.
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