How Much is a West Virginia Personal Injury Case Worth?
If you were recently injured in an accident that was caused by another, you may be wondering, “how much could my personal injury case be worth?” This is a fair question. After all, you’ve likely incurred medical bills, possibly missed work, and experienced other losses because of someone else’s negligence. However, determining how much your accident claim is worth is not as simple as it seems, especially if you suffered a physical injury. Settlement amounts can vary greatly. For example, whether you hire a personal injury lawyer, the type of case you have, the facts of your case, and numerous other factors affect the value of your personal injury claim calculation. In fact, insurance companies often use a complex computer program call Colossus to help them determine case values. That said, there are some guidelines that can give you an idea of how personal injury claims are valued and an idea of what your case might be worth.
What is the Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount?
According to a study completed by Lawyers.com, the average settlement amount of the readers who completed their survey was $52,900. Overall though these settlement amounts ranged from $3,000 to $75,000, and sometimes even more. However, it’s difficult to accurately say what an average personal injury settlement amount is because there are so many factors to consider. For example, car accidents, slip and falls, or work injury cases have different average settlement values. For example, while many, but certainly not all, car accident claims fall within the above survey’s averages, some personal injury cases like some truck accidents settle for millions of dollars. This is especially true when catastrophic injuries are involved.
How Much is Your WV Accident Injury Claim Worth?
While the studies on average personal injury case settlements are useful, they cannot accurately determine what your specific case will be worth. The best way to know what you may receive is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer, like us at West Law Firm. That said, some sources suggest that your accident claim may be worth 1.5 – 5 times the amount of your special damages. Special damages included past, present, and future medical bills, lost wages, and other tangible losses. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to evaluate your claim accurately and determine what type of damages to include in your claim. Accurately evaluating and proving future damages is important to recovering full and fair compensation. Under West Virginia law, recovering future damages, like future lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering, require certain kinds of evidence. And again, an experienced accident attorney can really help you in this regard. For a free case evaluation, we invite you to call one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today toll-free at 1-877-943-9378 (WEST).
What are Some of the Issues that can Affect the Value of a Personal Injury Case?
Aside from minor fender benders, personal injury claims are often very complex in nature. Numerous things can affect how much you may receive for your claim. Even the littlest things that you might not believe are important can have a major impact on your case. Let’s explore some of these things in greater detail:
Of course, the severity of your injuries plays a major role in how much you may receive for your claim. The more severe your injuries are, the more likely you are to have a higher medical bill and more lost income. This often means that the more severe your injuries are the more likely you are to receive a higher settlement or jury award. However, that is not always the case. For example, if there is not enough insurance to cover your losses.
Insurance Policy Limits
The policy limits on the other parties insurance is a very important detail in determining how much you may receive for your claim. A policy limit sets the maximum amount of money an insurer will pay toward a covered claim. So, if your damages exceed that limit and the negligent party doesn’t have the means to pay the rest through his or her funds then the amount you receive may be limited.
Many people often wonder whether hiring a lawyer will even make a difference in their personal injury case. Well, according to a study by the Insurance Research Council they found that people who hire an attorney for their personal injury claims receive 3-5 times more in settlement compensation than injury victims who don’t hire a personal injury attorney. That usually more than covers any attorney’s fee. If my loved one is seriously injured in another state, I would absolutely recommend she hire a top-rated personal injury lawyer. And the good news is most personal injury lawyers don’t charge a fee unless you recover compensation.
You may have heard before that you should never take the first offer from the insurance company. This is because skillfully negotiating with the insurance company, especially if done by a lawyer, will likely result in you recovering a higher settlement. For example, in a survey completed by Lawyers.com, effective negotiating increased settlement amounts on average by about $30,700.
Liability is arguably the most important issue involved in a personal injury case. To get any type of damages for your accident, you must be able to prove the other party caused your injuries or is legally responsible for them. If you are unable to do this you may receive little to no compensation at all. Again, a skilled accident lawyer can help you with any liability issues.
How Insurance Companies Calculate Settlement Amounts
Presenting a claim for actual incurred costs is only one aspect of your personal injury claim. Even in that situation, however, the insurance carrier may argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim or that surgeries and treatments you received were not necessary. As an injured party, it’s hard enough to try to move on with your life after an accident without these challenges. Your focus should be on getting the treatment you need and moving on with your life as best you can, which is why your case should be handled by a qualified attorney.
Most insurance companies use something known as the damage formula to estimate the total losses and damages, starting with the total medical expenses after the incident. To determine non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, the insurance company multiplies the sum of all medical bills by a number according to the severity of the injuries.
Minor injuries are multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 3. Moderate injuries are usually multiplied by 3 to 4. For permanent or catastrophic injuries, the total of the medical bills could be multiplied by as much as 5 or more. Getting a diagnosis and attending all of your medical visits is crucial since you need to tell an accurate story of your injury severity to get an appropriate damage amount.
Insurance companies may try to downplay your injuries or deny your claim altogether. It is common practice for them to submit a low settlement offer to you first. Every communication received from your insurance company should be shared with your WV personal injury lawyer for a full review. Do not sign anything without your attorney’s insight.
How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Personal Injury Claim?
Another important question that usually comes up is how long does it take to resolve a personal injury claim. The answer to this question is the same answer to most legal questions, it depends. That’s because every case is different and while some may end in just a few months, others can take years. The most important thing you can do to ensure your case gets settled as fast as possible is to contact a personal injury lawyer and begin working on it right away. Another point to keep in mind is that if you settle your accident claim with an insurance company too soon, you will likely receive less than fair compensation. Recovering all the compensation you deserve requires extensive negotiations, organizing and developing the evidence, and presenting legal arguments to the insurance company, defense lawyer, or jury. This takes time, and if you are receiving ongoing medical treatment, that can delay a settlement, too.
How Long Does It Take To Get Your Settlement Money?
Once you settle your personal injury case, the next step is getting your award money. Determining how long it will take though is difficult because all cases are unique. However, under West Virginia law, settlements must be paid within 30 days of settlement or the other side could face sanctions.
How to Help Make Sure You Get a Fair Settlement
Work directly with your personal injury lawyer to confirm that you’ve accurately totaled your current expenses and projected future costs for treating your injury. Do this before you file your personal injury lawsuit in West Virginia. Discuss the possibility of non-economic damages, too. Here are some other ways to protect your right to maximum compensation:
- Be prepared to tell your side of the story and do not assume the insurance company knows it
- Keep notes from all of your doctor visits
- Keep a pain journal documenting how your daily life is impacted
- Discuss any ways in which a permanent or severe injury of yours has affected your family, too
Free Case Evaluation by an Experienced West Virginia Accident and Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or by negligence, we invite you to call us for a free case evaluation today. We will carefully explain your options and rights so that you can decide what are you best next steps. There’s also never a fee unless you win. West Law Firm is one of the highest-rated personal injury firms in the state of West Virginia. We take pride in treating our clients like family and in getting them the justice they deserve. Call us today at 1-877-943-0378 to schedule a no-obligation Free Consultation.
Brooks West is a West Virginia personal injury lawyer who helps people who have been injured by negligence or wrongful conduct. He is the President and founder of West Law Firm and has been an attorney since 2005. Brooks is a Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum member and has been awarded the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.