PLACING A MONETARY VALUE ON AN INJURY
Unless you have been in many accidents and sued many times, you probably have no idea of the amount for which a personal injury case should settle. Your fate, for all intents and purposes, is in the hands of your attorney. If the attorney, for whatever reason, wants to settle the case, even though fair value has not been offered, how will you know? There are no easy answers here, which is why it is vital to retain a lawyer you can trust. There are, however, some factors you should consider in understanding how your damages may be calculated.
Soft Tissue Injury Damage
Lawyers and insurance adjusters evaluate personal injury cases in many ways. For simple cases, such as neck and back sprains (soft tissue injuries) that heal over time, the key factors are length of treatment and, perhaps, the amount of the medical bills. Some adjusters and lawyers just multiply the total of the medical bills by three or four to determine the settlement value. That is an overly simplistic approach that is used less these days than in the past. Yet medical bills still figure into the settlement evaluations in this kind of injury case. The bills are also considered to a lesser extent in more serious injury cases.
Perhaps the one rule of thumb for these soft tissue injury cases is $1,500 to $2,000 for each month of treatment. Thus, a soft tissue back and neck injury with three months of treatment will probably settle for between $4,500 and $6,000. There is a limit to this kind of computation. After perhaps six or seven months of treatment, the insurance company may begin to suspect that the claimant is prolonging treatment just to drive up the settlement. It is totally inexcusable to stay in treatment one visit longer than is necessary to recover more from your injuries. Driving up settlement value is not a proper reason to treat.