The Myth of the “Personal Injury Settlement Calculator”

When it comes to personal injury law, one of the most commonly searched

phrases is, “personal injury settlement calculator.” Capitalizing

on the public’s notion that there must be some magic formula for determining

the value of your personal injury case, many websites try to lure you

in by using a simple formula for determining the value of your case. One

website goes so far as to allow you to input your medical bills, lost

wages, future medical bills, and future lost wages and then it will give

you a settlement figure based upon that number.

For example, if you have $5,000.00 in medical bills and $2,000.00 in lost

wages, then you can determine a multiplier such as 3 which will state

that your settlement should be $21,000.00. Change the multiplier to 4

and you get a $28,000.00 settlement – change it to 2 and you get a $14,000.00

settlement figure. So the value of your personal injury case is determined

by a multipler and your medical bills. But how is that multiplier determined?

By now you obviously get the picture, there is no such thing as a personal

injury settlement calculator.

Much like a unicorn, as much as you may want to believe that it is out

there, it simply does not exist. The reality is that the value of your

personal injury case is based upon a variety of factors and ultimately

the true value of your case is what 12 impartial jurors determine after

hearing all of the facts and evidence of your particular case. With that

said, a majority of personal injury cases settle before a lawsuit is ever

filed or the case is ever tried. So how does an Injury Lawyer determine

the value of your case? Below is a list of the major considerations that

factor in to determining the value of your personal injury claim.

Liability/Behavior of the Other Party

When we are talking about liability we are essentially talking about who

is at fault, or what is the behavior that caused the injury? Are there

aggravating factors regarding the behavior that would shock and outrage

a person? Was the behavior intentional, negligent, grossly negligent or

reckless? A person could be seriously injured, but the liability may be

extremely difficult to prove, so even though one would think that the

claim is worth a significant amount of money, the doubtful liability would

decrease the settlement value.

The reverse is also true, a person could be slightly injured, but the behavior

of the offending party so egregious that the value of the claim is worth

more than one would typically expect. We recently resolved a claim for

a police officer that was hit from behind by a drunk driver. The police

officer suffered modest injuries, but a thorough investigation into the

background of the drunk driver revealed that he had an extensive driving

history. Based upon the other driver’s behavior we were able to settle

this modest injury claim for $50,000.00. Thus, the liability is an important

factor in determining the value of your personal injury claim.

Injuries/Medical Treatment

Determining the extent of your injuries and the amount of your medical

treatment may seem simple, but it takes an experienced Atlanta Personal

Injury Lawyer to track your treatment and make sure you are properly diagnosed.

In some cases, the insurance company will argue that your injuries are

not related to the incident or that you had a prior existing condition.

We work with your medical professionals to make sure that your injuries

are clearly documented and that those injuries that are related to the

incident are properly noted. Furthermore, in many personal injury cases

the victim may not have health insurance and will not know where to turn

for proper medical treatment. A good injury attorney will know how to

make sure that you receive the treatment you need, that your injuries

are properly diagnosed, and more importantly properly treated.

For example, mild traumatic brain injuries often go undiagnosed in

car wrecks. Mild traumatic brain injuries are serious, but subtle injuries. Often

the diagnosis is missed because the injured party does not understand

why they are experiencing certain symptoms. In our handling of these cases,

we have been able to see early on the symptoms and make sure that our

clients are seeing the proper medical professionals to determine this

type of injury. This same analysis holds true for any type of injury.

An experienced lawyer will know what to look for and make sure that this

is brought to your attention.

Location of the Accident/Defendant

The location where your personal injury claim can or will be filed is extremely

important in determining the value in your case. Venue, or the location

of where your case will be tried, can mean the difference of thousands

of dollars. In Georgia, the location of your trial is typically determined

by the county of residence of the offending party. However, there may

be opportunities to choose the venue depending on the facts and circumstances

of your case. Knowing how to choose the best venue can dramatically increase

the value of your claim. Conversely, the choice of the wrong venue can

have devastating consequences. A good personal injury lawyer will take

this into consideration and let you know what you can expect from a jury

in the venue where your case will be tried.

The amount of money available to pay for your Personal Injury Claim

Typically when we are talking about the amount of money available for your

claim, we are talking about insurance coverage. The hard reality of some

personal injury cases is that there may not be enough money to cover your

claim. An experienced Atlanta Injury Lawyer will make sure to investigate

and assemble all sources of possible insurance coverage to make sure that

your claim is fully paid.

Who has to be paid out of your Personal Injury Settlement

While this is not directly related to the value of your personal injury

claim, it is related to the amount of money that you will receive from

your case. The more people that have to be paid out of the proceeds of

your personal injury settlement means less money for you. It is becoming

far more common that health insurance companies, Medicaid, Medicare, and

other lien holders are asserting that they have a right to be paid out

of your personal injury settlement proceeds. We have extensive experience

in negotiating with these entities and have had great success in ensuring

that they do not overreach when asserting a claim for your money. We have

successfully defeated these types of claims and in many instances effectively

negotiated steep reductions.

The above are just some of the more important factors that go into determining

the value of your Personal Injury Case. Please remember that each case

is different and presents unique circumstances that should be evaluated.

We encourage you to

call us and speak with an experienced Atlanta Accident Attorney to discuss the

specifics of your claim.