If you have been hurt in an accident, knowing how much your injury is worth will help you get the compensation you deserve.
After an accident, the insurer may offer you a settlement. Without knowing how to calculate the compensation due you, however, you may not know if you are being treated fairly. You have every right to ask, “How much is my personal injury claim worth?” You cannot reopen settlement negotiations once they are finalized, so you and your personal injury attorney should delve deep into the details of your claim before you agree to anything.
The Insurance Company Offer is a Starting Point
Some kinds of monetary compensation due in legal claims – called “damages” – are not easy to calculate. Pay stubs and medical bills may help document lost wages and treatment claims. But intangible damages such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment are hard to quantify without the help of a personal injury attorney.
Because those damages cannot be precisely calculated, insurers use formulas for different kinds of payouts, which are really just estimates. It’s crucial to understand a couple things about the process. First, the insurance company’s offer probably is based on a formula not designed to maximize value of your intangible damages. Second, a company’s first offer usually is just a starting point for negotiations to settle your personal injury claim.
Types of Damages
There are many expenses that are incurred after an accident, but a personal injury claim encompasses more than out-of-pocket expenses. Under South Dakota law, you may be entitled to compensation for all kinds of damages, including:
- Property damage
- Physical injury
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship
How Damages are Calculated
Typically, insurance company formulas consider what other people have settled their cases for, instead of what a jury might be expected to do in your particular case. And instead of putting a dollar figure on each intangible damage, companies often resort to basing total compensation primarily on the cost of medical care. The insurance company adds up all your medical costs and refers to the total as “special damages.” For decades, many companies have used formulas that tend to produce a total claim value of only about two or three times the “special damages,” whether or not that grossly undervalues the claim.
How a Lawyer Can Help
In South Dakota, a personal injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance company so you do not have to. If you are still wondering, “How much is my personal injury claim worth?” please contact us. With legal help, you can get a settlement that considers your particular circumstances. You can contact the personal injury attorneys at Turbak Law online or by phone at 605-886-8361 to talk more about what you are going through.