The first thing to understand is that every case has a True Value, and it is rarely what the insurance adjuster tells you it is. Their job, in fact their entire business, is designed to get people to settle for the lowest amount possible. Oftentimes, the “insurance adjuster value” will talk only about things like your medical bills or the damage to your car. However, the adjuster won’t disclose all the other things that it considers which make up the True Value of your claim.
The first step to understanding the value of your claim is learning what losses you may be entitled to recover for.
Every state varies somewhat in this regard, particularly if you were injured in an auto accident.
Indiana and Illinois follow a system that looks primarily to who was at fault in causing an injury, even in the case of auto accidents.
Other states have enacted “no fault” laws regarding auto accidents which impact what damages you can recover and how. Despite the name “no fault,” it may still be very important who caused the accident even in states which use a “no fault” system.
Because the damages you may recover depend significantly on the circumstances surrounding your injury, it is highly advised that you consult with a qualified lawyer to determine how the law applies to your situation.
The first type of damage which you may have suffered can be classified as “economic loss.” This is the type of damage which can be quantified into dollars and cents. It includes the amount of your past medical bills and any future medical bills you may incur – even if those bills will be paid by health insurance. It also includes any income you have missed as the result of your injuries and any income which you may miss in the future. If applicable, it also includes the lost value of damaged property. For example, if you were injured in an auto accident and your car was damaged, the cost to repair your car would be considered an economic loss. Lawyers often refer to these “out-of-pocket” types of loss as “special damages.”
Sometimes, economic loss can be easily determined. If your injury was less serious and you will not need future medical treatment or miss future work, then your economic loss may simply be the amount of your past medical bills and documented lost income.
If your injuries are more serious, however, proving your economic loss may be more difficult. For example, the cost of the victim’s future medical care may not be known with certainty. The victim might be unable to return to work for a long period of time or may never be able to work the same job.
Although the cost of medical care and lost income has not yet occurred, this is nevertheless a type of economic loss which is a part of your claim. However, you may need the help of skilled experts to help you prove the likelihood of these future economic losses and their value.
You may find that an insurance adjustor focuses exclusively on your economic losses. However, those who have suffered a serious injury know that the physical, emotional, and psychological trauma of an injury goes far beyond the cost of medical bills or lost income.
We understand that an award of money will never make up for the losses suffered by a serious injury victim. However, a victim injured due to the fault of another is frequently permitted to recover money to help compensate for the pain, suffering, mental, and emotional losses the victim has endured.
The True Value of a victim’s pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life depends greatly on the type of injury suffered. However, this portion of an insurance claim can be worth more to a fair settlement than the victim’s medical bills and lost wages combined.
We recommend you never resolve an injury claim with an insurance company without seeking legal advice. However, you should be particularly careful in resolving a claim with an insurance company if you are not sure of the True Value of your claim and whether you are being fairly compensated for pain, suffering, and loss of life enjoyment. We can evaluate these issues in minutes.
In addition to the amount of medical bills, most insurance companies consider whether you are represented by a lawyer. Increasingly, insurance companies have introduced complex computer programs that analyze what lawyer represents you, including that lawyer’s financial resources, their reputation for obtaining good results, and their willingness to take a case to trial when necessary.
Why are insurance companies increasingly taking this into account? A prominent insurance industry study determined that injury victims represented by a lawyer were, on average, likely to recover more than 3 times the amount of a person who had no lawyer.
As a result, many insurance companies began implementing sophisticated programs to convince people to settle cases on their own without first consulting a lawyer. How much an insurance company believes your claim is “worth” is a number that may change depending upon your actions following your injury and how well you are represented in the recovery process.
The True Value of your case also includes consideration of a wide variety of other factors that only a skilled attorney can evaluate: How would a jury value your pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life? What jurisdiction did your accident occur in? How strong is the evidence in the case? Is there other evidence that may be available that the insurance company hasn’t disclosed?
While there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to True Value of an injury claim, we have helped thousands of injury victims evaluate this question under the unique circumstances of their case. This includes data reviewing the amount insurance companies have paid to settle claims in circumstances similar to yours after they are taken to court. While past case results are no guarantee of success in your case or that your case has a similar value, insurers often look at similar cases when evaluating the True Value of a claim (again, something they will never disclose).
Before you talk to an insurance adjuster, talks to an experienced injury lawyer. You can call, text, or chat with us 24/7/365 for an immediate, free case evaluation without leaving home.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.