Auto Accident Personal Injury Compensation
After a car accident, you may find yourself facing a mountain of bills and other related expenses. Getting your car repaired is expensive enough, however, you may also have rising medical costs, as well as lost wages to consider. That is why you’ll need to pursue auto accident personal injury compensation Atlanta to try to get your life back on track.
If your injuries are likely to result in serious or permanent impairment and disability, you may need to factor in future expenses and reductions in earnings as well. As such, you could need significantly more money than you even realize at this point.
Auto accident victims often face hefty medical expenses and time off work — both of which can quickly lead to financial hardships. You can recoup these costs by filing a car accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Obtaining maximum compensation is essential if you have been seriously injured in a car accident. At Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC, we are more than ready to fight for you to ensure you get the maximum compensation possible that you deserve.
You should hire an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer who will ensure that all of your expenses and needs are considered after the car accident. Your attorney will help you determine the value of compensation properly and ensure that all expenses are factored into any settlement or award you receive. This includes expenses that you’re yet to incur.
Factors That Determine the Value of a Personal Injury Settlement
When the insurance company puts a dollar value on your personal injury claim, here is what they focus on.
A whole host of variables go into putting a dollar value on a personal injury claim (there’s even an injury damage formula that can give you a ballpark idea of what your case might be worth).
Obviously, every case is different, but there are also a few common factors that tend to either increase or decrease the amount of compensation you can expect to receive through an out of court personal injury settlement from the insurance company, or the court if your personal injury lawsuit makes it all the way to trial.
Compare the factors listed in this article with the real-world facts in your own case, and get a sense of how the value of your claim might be impacted.
Factors That Affect Your Multiplier
In the most common formulas used to value a personal injury claim, a multiplier is applied to determine how (and how significantly) you were affected by the nature and extent of your injuries, by the medical treatment made necessary by the accident, and by the subjective “pain and suffering” you experienced.
The following factors will guide an insurance adjuster toward a “fair” multiplier used to determine the value of auto accident personal injury compensation Atlanta.
Factors that might make the use of a higher multiplier appropriate:
- hard injury—meaning a broken bone; vertebrae injury, joint injury, head injury, nerve damage
- medical treatment by a medical doctor, clinic, or hospital
- medical expenses that are primarily for the treatment
- prescribed medication related to the injury
- long-term injury treatment period
- long recovery period
- permanent injury—such as a scar, weakness, stiffness, or loss of mobility
- physical or emotional distress resulting from the injury, and
- daily life disruptions—missed school or training, missed vacation or recreation, canceled special event.
Factors that might make the use of a lower multiplier appropriate:
- soft tissue injury—such as strain, sprain, or bruise
- a large part of your medical expenses is for diagnosis rather than for treatment
- medical treatment by non-M.D. providers
- no medication has been prescribed in connection with your injury
- only brief medical treatment (a few visits to the doctor, for example)
- a short recovery period for your injuries
- no residual or permanent injury, and
- no physical or emotional problems other than the original injury.
Other Factors That Affect Compensation
After the settlement formula is applied, the opposing party will look at the other legal and practical issues that help or hurt the overall strength of your case.
Factors likely to get you higher compensation after the formula is applied include:
- no shared fault for the accident on your part
- your organization and professionalism in connection with the claims and settlement process
- the insured on the other side is not credible or sympathetic, and
- witnesses who bolster your case.
Factors likely to get you lower auto accident personal injury compensation Atlanta after the formula is applied include:
- A finding that you shared some of the blame for the accident or your injuries (learn more about comparative and contributory fault for a personal injury)
- disorganization or impatience on your part
- a sympathetic insured on the other side, and
- no witnesses that bolster your side of the case, or witnesses who favor the insured.
Should I Wait Until I Reach MMI Before Accepting a Car Accident Settlement Offer?
It is never a good idea to settle your car accident claim until you have finished treating it, or you at least have a well-defined understanding of the extent of your injuries and the future care you will require.
If you are making an injury claim after a car accident, you might have heard the insurance company (or your personal injury attorney) mention the phrase “maximum medical improvement” (or “MMI”) as it pertains to your injuries and medical treatment.
We will explain what MMI is, and why whether or not you have reached it (or at least come close) is a key factor when it is time to consider a car accident settlement.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
In the context of an injury-related insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit after a car accident, maximum medical improvement (or “MMI”) means:
- the claimant or plaintiff (that is you) has recovered completely from their car accident injuries, or
- the claimant or plaintiff’s condition has become stable and there is a clear picture of their medical future: What kinds of ongoing medical care will be necessary? What will that care cost? What kinds of physical limitations or disabilities will be permanent? You get the idea.
Have You Reached MMI? If Not, Don’t Sign on the Dotted Line
You should never negotiate a settlement in a car accident case until you have reached MMI, and at least have a well-defined understanding of the extent of your injuries and the future care you will require. Under no circumstances should you sign any settlement agreement or sign a release of liability until you have reached this point.
The reason for this is simple. Once you settle, you are agreeing to release the other driver from any further liability in connection with the underlying car accident. If your injuries turn out to be worse than you first thought, or complications arise, you can’t go back and demand more in the way of auto accident personal injury compensation Atlanta. The case is over once you sign a settlement agreement and release it, and the other driver is off the legal hook for any additional or unforeseen damages.
Let the Claim/Lawsuit Process Play Out
Our discussion up to this point is not meant to suggest that you can’t get the insurance claim or lawsuit process started before you reach MMI. On the contrary, if you don’t hear from them first (and you probably will), you should notify the car insurance company for the other driver (in addition to contacting your own car insurance company), and let them know that you intend to pursue a claim for your injuries.
It is also important to attend every medical appointment you make, to co-operate with all your health care providers, and to do everything your doctors tell you to do in terms of follow-up care. That is because as an insurance claimant or a personal injury plaintiff, you have a legal obligation to “mitigate your damages” — which simply means you must take all reasonable steps to facilitate your recovery and to avoid anything that might make your condition worse or prolong the need for ongoing treatment.
Auto Accident Personal Injury Compensation
Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC is one of the leading and reliable law firms in Atlanta with vast experience of over 25 years handling personal injury and workers’ compensation cases/claims successfully.
We have a team of experienced, professional, reputable, and dedicated personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys that can help you get the auto accident personal injury compensation Atlanta that you deserve.
Call us today at (470) 268-5802 or get in touch with us online to schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation to review your case with one of our attorneys and determine the right legal step to take.
Auto Accident Personal Injury Compensation