Ask Milly – Today’s Question – What is My Case Worth? (The 64,000 Question)
Anyone who has been injured in a car accident will tell you that their case is worth a lot because pain and suffering through no fault of your own has a price. You are never the same after a car accident even if they can medically or surgically repair the damage done. You may experience some measure of residual pain for the rest of your life. Your injuries may effect your ability to work, have fun and live a good, full life. This doesn’t even include the emotional and spiritual damage done. That part is impossible to calculate or properly assess. As far as physical injuries, there are some “Pain Calculator” formulas out there. Unfortunately, these formulas were devised by the very same insurance companies that don’t want to pay one dime more than they have to pay.
Back in the 90’s, Allstate led the charge to computerize case valuation they called The Colossus Program that is meant to properly calculate your pain and suffering and ultimately the value of your case by imputing several numbers and facts about your case. It is an extremely subjective process however because only what an adjuster actually inputs into the calculations will determine the outcome. The insurance companies will do anything they have to do to limit what goes into those calculations. While we can’t stop insurance companies from formulating their opinions, I can certainly offer them actual facts about your case to ensure that a proper evaluation is completed.
The first step in negotiating a settlement for a car accident or personal injury claim is calculating a reasonable amount of money you would accept in order to give up your legal claim. There is more than one formula out there, so often it depends on which insurance company you are dealing with and what formula they use. Some will make up their own formula and others use industry standard formulas. I started as an insurance defense attorney, so I understand the inner workings of what you will be up against and that makes me uniquely qualified to prepare your case thoroughly and precisely to maximize your potential settlement.
Since I meet with every client, I am going to really get to know you and what happened to you. I will know exactly how your injury affects your life before I ever begin negotiating on your behalf. We will have video evidence of your pain and suffering and full documentation of every single way that your life has been compromised.
We may not be able to go beyond the formula’s ceiling, but I promise you that you won’t be at the formula’s basement. Let’s take a look what I mean by a formula. The most common formula is:
A common formula is to use a multiplier to come up with an estimate of non-economic damages (money for your pain and suffering). This figure is added to your economic damages (such as outstanding medical bills and lost income) to get a dollar amount from which you can negotiate. To get a final dollar figure, an insurance adjuster will add up all of those numbers and multiply that by a number between 1 and 5. The multiplier will be lower or higher depending on a number of specific facts related to your case. Such facts would include the amount of property damage, issues of liability, the nature of your injuries and whether you have prior injuries to the same part of your body from a past event, etc.
How bad are your injuries? How much medical treatment did your require? How much treatment will you need in the future? Are you expected to make a full recovery? Are there long-lasting effects? How does the accident impact your daily life? The list goes on depending on the insurance company, but the answers to these questions will determine if your multiplier is a 1 or all the way up to a five or anywhere in between.
This is where I come in and help you. There will be a point of contention between your lawyer and the insurance company on what the value of your case will be. I will have gathered so much information and I will get to know you personally, so I can fight hard on your behalf. A settlement avoids a trial. You never know what a jury is going to decide your case is worth, so preparing the best case and showcasing the full nature of your injuries is the best way to assist in getting you the full value of your case.
I know this all seems unfair and you may think it makes your pain and suffering seem less than real. Reducing it to a number on a page using a calculator or a formula seems somewhat wrong, but keep in mind, there is no legislative ruling on how to do this. The best way for you to get the most out of a settlement is to be proactive. Together, we will take charge of your case from day one. We will keep track of all your expenses and every single issue this accident causes you. We will build a case based on my decades of experience. I’ll make sure that the insurance carrier has all of the information needed to afford you the best calculations on your case. Your pain and suffering may just be a number, or a formula to an insurance company as there is no empathy or compassion. I care about you and your pain and suffering. Call me at 727-376-9100 and let’s go over your case in full detail and get you a real award to redress your injuries.