Factors That Can Affect Your Injury Claim
Injury claims are complicated legal matters with many variables that can affect their timelines and dollar values. If you were injured in an accident in Virginia and wish to pursue compensation for your losses, consider the common factors that may apply to your claim and affect its outcome. Understanding these factors can allow you to accurately estimate the value of your case and determine if a settlement offer from an insurance company is adequate. It can also prepare you for what to expect from the legal process.
How Does an Insurance Company Calculate a Settlement?
Insurance settlements are broken down into two main categories: economic and noneconomic damages. Economic is the most common. These are the losses you suffered that are financial, such as the money you had to spend on medical bills and property repairs. When calculating economic damages, an insurance company will rely on hard evidence, such as your medical bills and damage repair estimates.
Noneconomic damages cover any losses that are not financial but still significantly affect the victim. Common examples include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and psychological trauma. Many different factors can impact the amount offered in pain and suffering damages.
- Severity of the injury
- Whether your injury is permanent
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Lost quality or enjoyment of life
- Daily life disruptions
- Pre-existing injuries
- Your age and health
An insurance company will often use a multiplier to determine an amount to award in pain and suffering damages. The multiplier is a number by which the insurance company will multiply the total amount of your economic damages to come up with a fair pain and suffering settlement. The multiplier will be lower for minor injuries and higher for severe injuries. The gravity of your injuries, therefore, is a significant factor affecting your injury claim.
Future Losses Suffered
A minor injury from an accident generally will not affect a victim for the long term. The victim will be able to fully heal from the injury over the course of a few days or weeks. A substantial injury, on the other hand, can lead to many future losses suffered. The victim may need to pay for months, years or a lifetime of medical care, for example, including surgeries and rehabilitation. A permanent disability will be especially damaging, as it may require lifetime care and prevent the victim from being able to work. If you or your personal injury lawyer can prove the existence of foreseeable future damages, this can increase the value of your injury claim.
Factors That Will Affect Your Injury Claim Timeline
Once you understand the value of your claim, focus on its timeline. The average insurance settlement is reached within three to six months of the victim filing an insurance claim in Virginia. A complex case, however, may take longer. The insurance company may need to extend its investigation, for instance, if there is a liability dispute. If your case has to go to trial to resolve, expect a timeline closer to one year or longer. Many different factors can affect how long your claim will take to complete.
- The complexity of the case
- The jurisdiction in charge of handling your case
- How the insurance company resolves claims
- How long it takes you to recover
- The number of parties involved
- Liability arguments or comparative fault
Although you may wish to recover compensation as quickly as possible, you cannot rush a fair settlement or jury verdict. You must allow the time it will take an insurance company to investigate your claim, for you to reach your point of maximum medical improvement and to negotiate a satisfactory deal. Rushing a settlement increases your chances of accepting an amount that is not adequate for your injuries and losses. Learn more about what to expect from your personal injury case by consulting with a Virginia personal injury attorney.