In the initial stages of your case, it will not be possible to predict when the claim will settle. Some claims resolve in a few months, some take several years to resolve by settlement or trial. Your St. George attorney will almost always stall until you are recovered or nearly recovered from your injury to try to settle your case. Keep the following in mind during the process:
- What is the total cost of all of your medical bills?
- Do you still need any more care from doctors?
- If additional treatment is needed, what is the estimated cost?
- Are any of your injuries permanent?
- If you have permanent injuries, do they affect your earning potential?
- What is your total loss of wages and any other employment benefits lost?
- Is it likely that you will lose any future income due to your injury?
These and other factors will affect your settlement. As your case progresses, your attorney will be able to make the decision about the right approximate time to settle your case.
My case: what is it worth?
It is nearly impossible to answer this question in the beginning of a case. A value can’t be projected until all of the documentation is in hand. As you recover, and you must be nearly healed from your injury. Here are some of the factors that will contribute to the value of your case:
- The total amount of your medical bills
- The details of all medical expenses and their origins, ie. Tests, treatments, hospital stays, physical therapy, chiropractic, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medication in relation to your injury.
- The total wages and other benefits that were lost due to your injury. These might include lost income, sick leave, vacatime time, lost insurance benefits due to missed work, and any other losses due to your injury.
- The details of your injury, and the ways your injury impacted your day-to-day life. This could include inconveniences and limitations on household and family activities, mobility, leisure activities and sports, and your social life.
- Permanency of injuries. This includes any permanent disfigurement such as scars or any other disfiguring characteristics. Being marred in a permanent fashion can add a great deal of value to a case.
- Liability on the part of the defendant.
- Any fault on your part for your injuries.
- The laws relating to your case.
- The credibility and quality of your witnesses, especially those that will testify about the incident, your injuries, and any of your treatment.
- Any other factors due to your injury such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, and loss of consortium (if the injury affected your marital relationship- that includes both interactive communication and physical intimacy).
These factors above are a few of the many that must be considered in determining a settlement and value of a case. It is important that you and your attorney have accurate records of all documentation to correspond with all of these factors so that you have adequate support for your claim. Because there are so many variables, every case is different. Do not become frustrated if your case takes time. Your attorney only wants the best for you. Your incentives are aligned. Do not feel uncomfortable sharing personal information. Everything you say to your attorney is confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege. The more he or she knows about you, the better.
Who gets to decide how much money my claim is worth?
Your attorney, and your St. George law firm, have expertise and experience in personal injury cases such as yours. Your lawyer will examine all of the factors listed above and discuss a possible settlement range with you.
After your lawyer meets with you to pick a settlement range, he or she will contact the insurance company for the case to present a demand value with the hope that the at-fault carrier will compensate you with an offer inside your range.
Make sure to be aware that you are in charge of the final decision regarding the value of your case. However, your lawyer can make the best recommendation using his or her experience and expertise.