When filing a personal injury claim, there is never a sure outcome. Depending on several different factors, you could obtain compensation or not. In addition, the compensation that victims receive can vary significantly, even for similar claims.
Below, we explore some of the factors that can have an impact on how much compensation you recover. The most effective way to ensure that you receive the full and fair value of your personal injury claim is to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as you can.
1. Your Occupation
Your occupation can impact your injury settlement in many ways. For example, if you work in a labor-intensive field and your injuries will prevent you from working for an extended period of time, you will likely be entitled to compensation for your lost income. Similarly, if your accident has left you with a long-term disability, there’s a good chance that you can recover compensation for the income you lose as a result of your disability.
2. Your Injuries
The severity of your injuries also plays a huge role in the potential value of your settlement, as more severe injuries often leave victims with long-term problems. If you can recover fully from your injuries, you may receive a standard settlement offer. For traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, and back injuries, you may receive a substantially larger settlement.
You should be sure to preserve medical records to prove the severity of your injuries. Your doctor’s report will be all you need to confirm the impact of your current injuries moving forward.
An insurance company, when they can no longer undermine your injuries, may attempt to compile evidence suggesting that they were the result of pre-existing injuries. Sometimes, an insurance company will request an independent medical examination from their doctor to prove their case.
Depending on the circumstances, you can decline this examination, but your refusal can be used against you in court. Hire a lawyer today to build a solid case that reinforces the severity of your injuries.
3. Policy Limits
There’s a chance that your injury settlement will depend on the at-fault party’s policy limits. If you have been injured severely and are entitled to significant compensation, there may be policy limits preventing you from reaching a certain amount.
There are ways in which you can exceed the policy limits of an insurance company, which include:
- You can take legal action against multiple defendants. You can sue the mechanic that left the defendant’s vehicle in poor condition. You can also sue your doctor for medical malpractice that exacerbated your injuries and the property owner in the building you were injured in.
- You could collect damages from an umbrella policy. For example, the defendant may have an umbrella policy of $150,000 in addition to a $25,000 liability policy. You can sue for the total $175,000 for your total damages.
- Your lawyer can prove that an insurance company’s settlement offer was made in bad faith. Essentially, if an insurance company’s policy limits cannot cover your total damages, you can always sue for more. You’ll need to provide proof of the amount you owe in medical expenses, lost wages you’ve suffered from being out of work, lost earning potential, property damages associated with your injuries.
As you can see, there are numerous ways your claim can exceed policy limits. Be sure to speak with your attorney about the impact of an insurance company’s policy limits on your claim.
4. Your Level of Fault
California is a comparative fault state. This means that you could actually be assigned a percentage of fault for your role in an accident, instead of all of the fault being assigned to the other party.
For example, if you were involved in a head-on collision by a distracted driver, but it’s determined that you were speeding, you could be assigned 5% of fault. The other motorist will receive 95% fault.
Depending on your level of fault, the value of your settlement can change. If you are deemed to be at fault, your settlement could be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you are 5 percent at fault and have $100,000 in damages, your settlement may be reduced to $95,000.
Ultimately, you’ll get paid regardless of your level of fault if the other driver played a role in the accident as well.
5. Your Lawyer’s Ability & Skill
The attorney you decide to hire can have an impact on your injury settlement. Most major insurance companies are familiar with skilled lawyers with successful track records. Hiring a lawyer that has the resources to fight against major insurance companies is crucial. Overall, your attorney should know how to navigate negotiations with an insurance company.
Most civil claims are settled out of court. This means that it’s much more likely for an insurance company to offer you a settlement rather than battle it out in court. Unfortunately for victims, insurance companies are in the business of making money and will do everything they can to reduce your settlement or deny your claim completely. The best way to protect your rights and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve is to retain an experienced lawyer as soon as you can after an accident.
Call Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation with a South Carolina Injury Attorney
If you have been hurt in an accident, you should contact an experienced attorney immediately. At McCravy Law, we are committed to helping victims recover compensation and do everything we can to ensure that our clients obtain the full and fair value of their claims. We offer completely free consultations and will never collect legal fees from you unless we win your case.
Have you been recently injured in an accident and would like to hire an attorney for your claim? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. To speak to a member of our legal team and schedule an initial consultation, give us a call at (864) 388-9100 or contact us online. We’d love to speak with you about your claim.