How much is a broken bone worth? What about a case of a spinal cord injury that causes permanent paralysis? What about simple whiplash? These are hard questions to answer because they don’t have a fixed answer. Lawyers deal with these questions and handle cases to help injury victims determine the value of a case and pursue a fair settlement that matches the level of damage they have from the accident.
The end goal of winning a settlement, and the maximum possible amount at that, is to get your life back together and return to a sense of “normalcy.” How can you put a price tag on that after sustaining life-changing or disruptive injuries due to another driver’s negligence?
In this article, our aim is to guide you through the critical elements a Denver personal injury lawyer and insurance companies will consider when coming up with a settlement amount.
Working with a lawyer will help you accurately and effectively assess all your damages and calculate a fair value for your claim. Stay tuned to find out more about what insurance companies, lawyers, and a jury or judge will look at to calculate a settlement value that they deem appropriate for your claim.
Factors to Consider That Will Affect Your Personal Injury Settlement Amount
Personal injury lawyers have one end goal: to get a fair assessment of your claim and win you that amount. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your claim, you can use that insight to work with your attorney and build a winning case strategy.
Navigating a personal injury claim is not easy – you need the experience and expertise of a qualified Denver car accident lawyer to help you get the best outcome. They’ll also be your first line of defense when insurance companies try to use unfair tactics to minimize or downplay your injuries so they can pay you less money.
There’s no formula or science to calculating a settlement value; rather, it requires an understanding of the law and experience in knowing how to determine the value of certain damages. This experience and knowledge are what help lawyers meet their client’s expectations and efficiently negotiate with insurance companies.
Here are the major factors you need to know about that will affect the ultimate value of your claim.
Additional Factors that Can Affect Your Personal Injury Settlement in Denver
In order to determine an accurate and appropriate value for your claim, you need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case – the other party and their legal counsel will do so, too.
If you have a very strong case with a plethora of evidence that clearly exhibits the other party’s negligence and establishes their liability, you have a pretty good shot at winning your case and getting a desirable settlement. However, if you have inconsistencies or questionable details in your case that give the other party a reason to contest your claims, such as lack of witness testimony or the credibility of your injury severity, you might get a lower settlement.
Here are the main factors that will ultimately affect your final settlement amount.
How Severe Is Your Injury?
This one is pretty obvious – the worse your injury is, the more you’re likely to get higher compensation for your injury. Not only do they yield higher medical bills, but more severe injuries also cause more pain and suffering for the injured person and their families. Injuries like broken bones, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury that cause lasting damage will surely increase the value of a settlement. Victims of permanent, life-long injuries like paralysis or blindness will usually see the highest settlements. Other long-term injuries that usually call for big settlements include disfigurement or any type of permanent loss of a body part.
To What Extent Have Your Injuries Disrupted Your Normal Life?
If your injuries have dramatically disrupted your normal daily life, this can lead to an increased settlement value. Let’s say you sustained an injury that prevents you from being able to walk, stand, or otherwise be self-sufficient; you’ll need someone to take care of you and help you. This will make for a higher settlement value. If that limitation affects your work (e.g., you work in manual labor like construction, your job requires you to travel, or you’re a professional athlete), you can expect your settlement value to increase even more.
How Long Will a Full Medical Recovery Take, and Will You Need Ongoing Treatment?
We see our clients win larger settlements when they require ongoing or long-term medical treatment. If you need to see a doctor several times a week and then continue to get physical therapy for months or years down the line, this will cost a lot. On top of that, you’re missing work, may need medication treatment, and also have to consider the cost of transportation to and from all these doctor visits.
In the worst of cases, our clients may require surgery, which almost always adds value to your settlement.
Establishing Clear Liability
So far, we’ve mostly discussed injuries and associated medical costs. In the eyes of the law, these are simply allegations. What you really need to build a strong case that supports your claim and warrants a higher settlement is proof of liability.
By displaying certainty with supporting evidence that the other party was negligent and is therefore liable for your injuries, your settlement is not only secured but could be higher than if you have a weak case that lacks clear and convincing evidence.
Bear in mind that the insurance company may argue liability or try to minimize the liability in question so as to pay you less. That’s what a lawyer is for – to put them in their place and negotiate a higher settlement for you.
Mental and Emotional Trauma (AKA Pain and Suffering)
Accident injuries don’t just cause physical injuries. The damage goes much deeper than just that. Often, people who are involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, or pedestrians who get hit by a car experience some degree of emotional trauma and mental distress afterward.
Pain and suffering is a damage you can claim and can add a substantial amount to your settlement. Examples of pain and suffering damages would be anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, stress due to missing work, loss of companionship and consortium, loss of enjoyment in life, and more.
Note that pain and suffering damages, while they can significantly increase the value of your settlement, also have a higher standard when it comes to evidence. This means that it’s harder to prove damages that don’t have a bill or an invoice attached to them. How do you put a price on depression? Not only that, but what is the toll it’s taken on your life, and how much is that worth? To help support your pain and suffering damage claim, you may want expert testimony from a reputable doctor.
You can also journal and keep your own personal account on record of how your life has now changed because of your injuries. Your family members and close friends or people who live with you may also be able to testify on their account of how the injury has negatively impacted your life and how they’ve seen you suffer.
Did Your Accident Attract Publicity?
Believe it or not, if your case gets publicity in the media or news, you might be looking at a higher settlement. Let’s say a company or individual has their reputation at stake with this case and wants to avoid any negative headlines affiliated with causing your injuries. They may agree to settle with a generous offer to avoid negative publicity. If the defendant is a public figure or a high-profile entity, the last thing they want is bad press, and they will be more inclined to write you a big check to avoid the bad press.
Do We Need to Take Your Case To Court?
Sometimes, insurance companies don’t want to cooperate or play fair. If your case goes to court, you might get a much higher settlement than if you had accepted an offer from the insurance company. Another note on going to court – the other party may feel pressure with each milestone we reach. So, if we push past their motion to dismiss and successfully carry out depositions that work in our favor, the other party may feel pressure to settle with a higher amount. In short, the more milestones you reach in your case, the more pressure the other party will start to feel and become more inclined to compromise and give you a higher settlement.
How Can A Denver Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?
Our team of expert Denver, personal injury lawyers, has the experience needed to get you the highest settlement amount possible. We’ll make sure you are aware of all damages you’re entitled to seek and the full and fair value of your claim.
Our job is to help innocent injury victims like you get the resources you need to move on with your life with peace of mind that you can pay for all the damages the car accident caused and focus on healing. We are compassionate and caring people, too, not just attorneys, so we fight hard for each client to make sure they walk away with the money they need and deserve. We’ll help you make the most of your claim and get the maximum settlement possible.
Call us today for a free consultation.