The Myth of the "Personal Injury Settlement Calculator"

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.


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