What is My Case Worth After My Motorcycle Accident?
One of the first questions clients usually ask of their attorneys is: what is my case worth? While it would be nice to have an exact answer early in the process, it is often difficult to tell how much a particular claim is worth until more information is received. A wide range of factors can affect the value of your claim and no attorney can reliably estimate the value of your case until he or she has all of the information they need.
A few of the most common factors include:
Severity of Injuries – This is the most important determining factor in valuing a potential claim. No matter how the crash occurred, where injuries are very minor-to-nonexistent, potential claims are worth very little. Juries and insurance companies will look at the hard numbers in determining values for claims.
When deciding how much your insurance company1 is willing to pay to settle a claim, the adjuster will look closely at the total amount of any medical bills and costs accrued as to the result of your injuries. The total cost can include things like lost wages if you were to hurt to work. Compensation for your pain and suffering are then based off of the total hard cost.
The need for full hard number totals is the reason why attorneys often will not have a good idea of the relative value of your claim until after you are done treating your injuries and they have gotten back all of your medical records and billing. Only then can the total cost to you be fully assessed.
Venue – Another important factor in determining the value of your claim is where the accident occurred. Lawsuits generally must be filed in the county where the accident occurred or where the defendant resides. When there is a choice of venue,2 a strategic decision is made as to where to file the lawsuit and this is because different counties develop reputations for being more favorable or less favorable for personal injury cases.
For example, urban settings are generally friendlier to a plaintiff and rural settings are generally more favorable to a defendant. There are a number of other determining factors that your lawyer will look at in determining where to file your claim, but ultimately venue can have an impact on the amount of money that you’re likely to see in your case. A case that can be filed somewhere more favorable for plaintiffs will be viewed as more valuable.
Insurance Coverage – Often times, the value of a claim can be negated by a lack of insurance coverage or a lower insurance policy limit. People with low coverage may have no real assets to recover from when you successfully bring suit against them. While it is possible to recover above the policy limit and there are many tools for recovery from defendants, many times, you are left with only the amount of insurance coverage that exists.
Proper Treatment – One of the surest ways to devalue a motorcycle accident claim is to not seek proper treatment right away or to have an unexplained lapse of treatment. Determining the value of your claim is based mostly on your medical records and billing, so if there are gaps in treatment or any other unusual occurrences, juries and insurance companies are going to naturally start to wonder why someone would not be undergoing treatment if they are as hurt as they claim to be. The best advice to avoid this problem is to simply get the treatment that the doctor recommends when they recommend it and to not delay. It will be better for your health and better for your claim.
Aggravating Factors – One of the other major factors that can increase the value of your claim are whether any aggravating factors were present. These may include occurrences like getting hit by a drunk driver, a driver who has a bad driving history, or a driver who leaves the scene of the accident. These and other factors will only incense the jury and make them more likely to want to punish the at-fault driver and give you more money for your claim.
Contact a Clearwater Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact a Clearwater motorcycle crash attorney right away. At the Dolman Law Group, we have helped many of our clients recover for all of their losses from their motorcycle accidents and injuries. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 727-451-6900 or send us an email through our online contact form.