If you were involved in an auto accident, you should report the issue to your insurer. This is the initial step in pursuing a personal injury claim. Your insurer will then assign an adjuster to your case. This is an expert from the insurance company charged with the responsibility of investigating what happened and determine how much your personal injury claim is worth.
Remember, the adjuster works for the insurance, not for the insured. He or she focuses on keeping the compensation amount as low as possible. In some cases, your claim might be denied. And this isn’t what you want. So, it helps to seek the help of an experienced Schenectady personal injury attorney to fight for your rights and ensure that you get what’s rightfully yours.
Determining a compensation offer
In all personal injury claims, the insurance adjusters usually take into account the same factors a judge will consider when determining what a claim is worth. Some of these factors include;
- The total amount of actual healthcare expenses. These include the medical bills incurred and relevant expenses that are likely to be incurred in the future.
- The lost income or inability to continue making a living after the accident.
- The level of pain and suffering caused by the injuries sustained during the accident.
- All other negative effects directly associated with the victim’s injuries.
Generally, it is easy to calculate the monetary value of damages, such as actual medical expenses and lost income due to your inability to continue working. On the other hand, damages such as pain and suffering are more subjective and challenging when it comes to assigning a monetary value to them. Having a good personal injury lawyer to handle the claim settlement negotiations means you have someone who cares about you and ready to defend your rights.
During the process of attaching a monetary value to your damages, insurance adjusters usually consider two main factors. These include;
Your insurance policy limits
Your insurer isn’t going to pay anything more than the highest amount indicated in your auto insurance policy. For instance, if the negligent driver carried $60,000 in terms of liability insurance, the maximum amount the insurance service provider will be willing to pay in connection to a collision is $60,000. In case your damages exceed the defendant’s insurance limits, you may need to collect the remaining amount from them.
The strength of your case
If you and your personal injury have built a solid case, the insurer is likely to make a better offer. For example, medical negligence where a surgeon left a surgical instrument inside the claimant may attract a better offer, especially when the plaintiff’s lawyer convincing evidence. For weak cases, the adjuster will assign a low monetary value to your damages. After all, he or she knows if the claimant proceeds to court, there is a good chance they will get nothing.
Given the complexity of personal injury claims, it’s best to hire an attorney to handle the negotiation process.