- November 1, 2012
- In auto Accidents
Determining the appropriate amount to present to the insurance carrier to settle a personal injury claim is a systematic process. The following is the approach that an Orange County truck accident attorney will use in calculating the initial demand figure.
Step 1 – Assessing the Medical Bills
The primary measure of damages is the medical bills. A personal injury attorney will examine and sum up the well-documented medical costs. Monetary damages resulting from a broken leg or a shoulder injury that required arthroscopic surgery, for example, are easy to quantify. The Orange County truck accident attorney look at the length of time it took for the injury to heal and multiply the total medical bills by a factor of two, three, four, or five depending upon how long it took for recovery.
The quality of the medical documentation and whether or not the injured area was completely symptom-free before the injury are also taken into consideration when calculating the demand amount. If the area had previously been injured, this will reduce the multiplication factor. If the injury fully healed in a short time period, for instance within a month or two with no lingering issues, then the attorney may use a lower figure such as two or three times the medical bills. However, if the injury was prolonged, for example a year or longer, then the Orange County truck accident attorney will likely use a higher multiplication factor, such as four or five times the aggregate medical bills.
Step 2 – Assessing Lost Income
Next, the Orange County truck accident attorney will determine how much lost income resulted from the injury. Lost income must be well documented otherwise it will not hold up should the case go to trial. Generally, lost income is calculated by multiplying the number of weeks lost by a certain rate of pay per week. Self-employment income that is estimated and does not have concrete documentation (such as tax returns or evidence from the business’ accountant) is difficult to prove so the attorney may use a lower multiplication factor. When lost income is documented and reasonable, the attorney may multiply the total by two, three, or four depending upon the quality of the documentation and recovery time. This total amount is then added to the medical bill figure described above in Step 1.
If there is a permanent impairment that is documented by a reputable physician, this adds another dimension to the analysis and an additional amount will be added to the total figure based upon the type of impairment. The Orange County truck accident attorney may also add a bit more to the total as a cushion depending upon the strength of the case.
The bottom line is that the initial demand figure will be the maximum amount the attorney believes could potentially be awarded by a jury under the best of circumstances at trial. The figure that will eventually be settled upon with the insurance carrier, however, will likely be less than the initial demand figure.
If you have further questions about how much your claim may be worth or have any other questions regarding a personal injury case, please call Orange County truck accident attorney Samer Habbas at 888-848-5084. The initial consultation is free of charge.
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