Value of a Personal Injury Claim-More Key Factors
The severity of the injury greatly influences the settlement offer, as will the characteristics of the individual. For example, a facial scar on an attractive young woman is worth far more than an elbow scar on an elderly man. A permanent injury to a child brings a far larger offer than will a similar injury to an adult. A herniated disc suffered by a skilled manual laborer has a greater value than a herniation sustained by a person with a sedentary job. A soft tissue injury sustained by a person with a long history of suing for accidents brings a lower offer than the same injury suffered by a first time plaintiff.
The largest jury awards, and therefore the largest settlements, involve severe head injuries, loss of limbs, paralysis, and death. Even these catastrophic injuries must be carefully documented to achieve maximum settlement value. It is especially important with catastrophic injuries for the insurance company to realize that your lawyer knows how to prove these kinds of cases. Claims adjusters are terrified of the huge verdicts juries have returned on cases involving severe, permanent injury.
The reputation of your attorney is crucial. If your lawyer is known by the insurance companies and their attorneys as someone who knows how to prove a personal injury case, you will get a much better offer than if your lawyer is unknown or is known to be incompetent or inexperienced. The insurance company wants to settle relatively quickly with the knowledgeable, experienced personal injury lawyer because it fears that this lawyer will obtain an award or verdict far in excess of the usual settlement value.