What is a "Fair" Car Accident Settlement?
How Much is “Fair” for My Car Accident Settlement?
Columbus Ga Lawyer Mark Jones Discusses What is Fair in Your Injury Case
I have written before on settlement calculators. I have also elaborated on pain and suffering as an item of legal damages in Georgia. In this blog, Columbus Ga Car Accident Lawyer Mark Jones will discuss what is “fair” in evaluating your car accident case and whether the insurance company is offering you are fair settlement. Really, you need to look at five critical factors in evaluating whether you should settle your case.
1. How Much Are Your Medical Bills and Lost Wages?
When you miss work or incur medical bills after an automobile wreck, you are incurring what the law calls “special damages” that the driver who hit you is on the hook for. Special damages is the term we lawyers use to make us feel smarter. It basically means specific monetary loss you have sustained as a result of the wreck – hence the term “special” damages (i.e., you are dealing with a specific amount of money). More than any other factor, the amount of your medical bills will determine what a “fair” settlement amount is.
2. What is the Extent of Your Injury & Quality of Your Medical Care?
Did you go to an orthopedic surgeon for spinal surgery or did you go to a chiropractor for some simple adjustments? Obviously, there is a difference between a case involving a soft-tissue injury that is resolved with a course of chiropractic adjustments and one where a spinal cord stimulator, spinal fusion, cervical fusion, or shoulder arthroscopy is required.
3. What is the Amount of Your Property Damage?
In a car wreck case, the amount of your property damage is very critical to your case. Low property damage in an auto accident case means that a judge, jury, or adjuster will have a difficult time understanding how you could have been catastrophically or seriously injured in the wreck. The truth is though that even a small wreck can cause serious injury when two, two-ton pieces of machinery collide. Nevertheless, as a general rule of thumb, you need at least $1,500.00 in property damage to your (or the other driver’s) vehicle for the adjuster to take your injury claim seriously.
4. What is Your Lawyer’s Track Record?
Has you lawyer tried a case in the last year? Heck, have they been in a courtroom in the last 5 years?
As Engstrom has found, many attorneys get comfy by taking the insurance company’s last, best settlement offer and never actively preparing their client’s case for trial in the event the insurance company does not make a fair settlement offer.
Rest assured, the insurance company knows whether you have hired someone who will fight for you or whether you have hired someone who is soft.
5. Does Your Case Have Liability Issues?
In many states, if your case for liability is weak, then it reduces the value of your case. Is the Plaintiff somehow at fault? Is the Defendant sympathetic? These issues go towards liability. Did the police officer find that the Plaintiff had a contributing circumstances in addition to the Defendant? If you have anything but clear cut liability, your personal injury case is not worth as much necessarily as a case without liability issues.
How much your car accident case is worth is fact-specific. Factors to consider are: (1) how much your medical bills and lost wages are; (2) the quality and extent of your medical care; (3) the property damage to the vehicles involved; (4) the lawyer you hired; and (5) whether your case has liability issues. Feel free to give Mark a call to discuss your case further for free at 706-225-2555 or 866-521-MARK.
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