It is important to carefully analyze any settlement offer from an insurance company for a personal injury claim, even if the amount seems fair at the time. Even if the insurance company accepts your claim, it is still looking out for its own bottom line.
According to staff writers for Avvo.com, the insurer will typically come up with a settlement offer by adding medical damages, lost wages and general damages. Be sure to keep documentation of your medical bills and lost wages; those numbers are easy to calculate. General damages are open to interpretation, and therefore more difficult to calculate.
General damages cover pain and suffering, any permanent disabilities, emotional damages (stress, depression, anxiety, etc.) and lowered quality of life. For example, if your wife leaves you because you are in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, you can certainly argue that your quality of life is significantly lower.
To calculate the amount for general damages, insurance companies typically use a multiplier with your medical damages. The multiplier can be anywhere from 1.5 to 10, depending on the severity of your injuries. Another thing they do is try to put themselves in a judge or jury’s shoes to determine how much each party was at fault. If the insurance company believes a jury would find you 20% responsible for the accident, it will change a settlement offer of $100,000 to $80,000, for example. Do not let an insurance company tell you how negligent you are in an accident. Contact an experienced attorney who is looking after your best interests.
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego personal injury attorney.