What Affects the Value of My Case?
Knowing the estimated value of your auto accident is imperative when you’re settling or trying your claim. Of course, there are a plethora of variables that can determine the value of a claim; however, there are 5 main factors to consider when deciding if it is smarter to settle or go to trial.
What is the likelihood that the plaintiff can show that the other party is somehow responsible for causing the accident and subsequent injuries? This answer should be based on the facts of the incident. This will also vary by state based on comparative vs. contributory negligence.
Insurers will estimate “objective” injuries, injuries that can be proved in medical fact, greater than “subjective” injuries. The varying type and degree of injury will affect the estimate, as well as the duration of the recovery period.
Insurers will consider damages that have money value, such as property damage, past medical costs, past wage loss, future medical costs, and future earning capacity.
Insurers will consider damages that do not have explicit money values, such as past emotional pain and suffering and future physical pain and suffering. Different states have different caps on noneconomic damages.
Subrogation is simply the substitution of one party for another. The principle of subrogation is applied when an insurance company has paid out benefits on behalf of their insured. Some policies require that policyholders reimburse their substitute by 100 percent and do not account for any type of reduction for pro rata share of fees and costs.
What affirmative defenses will be available to the defendant and what is the likelihood that the defendant will prevail on those affirmative defenses? Sometimes a plaintiff’s recovery is reduced based upon the percentage that she may be responsible for contributing to her own injuries. In addition to the statute of limitations, a plaintiff’s assumption of risk as well as the obligation to minimize damages will also affect the value of the claim.
The likeability of the plaintiff and the defendant is a significant factor. Similarly, the socioeconomic, cultural, and geographic composition of the county in which the claim was filed will affect the value of the settlement. If the claimant has a history of filing various claims, an insurer will likely diminish the value of the claim to some degree. The insurer will also lessen the value if there is no physical evidence of injury or damage to the vehicle, or if there was a pre-existing medical condition that aggravated the injury. The treating physician’s report will influence the insurer, along with the result of the recovery.
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