When consulting with a potential client, a personal injury lawyer often gets asked this question: What is my claim worth? Lawyers understand that the insurance company of the responsible party calculates the worth of the claim made by the opposing party. During their calculation, the employees at that same insurance company will need to exam a great many different figures.
Some of those figures represent a cost, and those same figures get added together. By summing up each separate cost, the insurer hopes to obtain an estimate of the total cost imposed upon the claimant. The costs that get added together are the ones that represent the amount of money spent on medical expenses, care expenses, and damaged property. In addition, the cost of specific losses gets estimated.
Insurers assign each property loss to one of 3 categories
Some of the property that was lost can be repaired. Some property was destroyed completely. It can never be repaired. Personal Injury Lawyer in Lindsay knows that a third category covers those items that could be repaired, but would force the claimant to cover the total amount on an expensive repair bill. In other words, the cost of the repair would exceed the value of a replacement.
What costs fall under the label of medical expenses?
• Doctors’ bills
• The bill for emergency transportation
• Money spent on medications and medical equipment
To what losses does the insurance company link a monetary figure?
• Loss of the ability to use some body part, or to carry out some body function
• Loss of a family member
• Loss of social or educational experiences
• Emotional damages
What other figures get used in the insurer’s calculations?
The insurer’s formula calls for the inclusion of two factors. One is the total described in the previous paragraphs. The other one stands for the level of the claimant’s pain and suffering. It is usually a number between 1 and 5. If the claimant has suffered a catastrophic injury, the factor representing pain and suffering could be something between 6 and 10.
The number that represents the level of pain and suffering gets used to perform an operation that calls for multiplication. That number (usually something between 1 and 5) becomes one of 2 factors that get multiplied together. The other factor is the sum of the costs created by the accident.
The product represents a figure that can be placed in a different formula. It is a formula that calls for completion of yet another summing operation. The product gets added to the value that corresponds with the claimant’s loss of wages. The addition of those two numbers yields a value that the insurance company links to the claim’s worth.
Understand that the value obtained by using the insurer’s formula does not truly represent the claim’s worth. True, it will be used by adjusters, when determining what to propose as the initial offer, once negotiations begin. Still, the claimant can force changes in that offer by focusing on the emotional issues that arose, in the accident’s aftermath.
In addition, the claimant has the right to ask for an explanation of the basis for any offer that is made by the adjuster. If the adjuster does not provide the claimant with that explanation, the claimant’s rights get extended, allowing for the sending of a letter.
The claimant’s letter should spell out the nature of the request made, the one that the adjuster ignored. That same letter should be sent to the head of the insurance company, the adjuster’s boss. The insurer puts that letter in his or her file. As a result, the adjuster might feel forced to address the claimant’s request. Alternately, the insurer’s response might take the form of calling for replacement of the old, uncooperative adjuster with a new one.