What Do Insurance Companies Consider When Assessing Personal Injury Claims?
Car wrecks, dog bites, and slip and falls are accidents that often lead to injuries. The victims of such accidents can be forced to deal with medical bills, recovery time, and an overall decrease in their quality of life.
The personal injury process attempts to provide financial compensation in these circumstances, and when these types of cases are pursued, an insurance company will inevitably be involved. For this reason, it helps to have a basic understanding of what factors insurance entities consider when calculating settlement offers.
Each claim is different, and there is no exact way to determine a settlement figure without the help of a personal injury attorney. However, keep reading for an overview of what elements are commonly considered in an insurance company's settlement calculation.
The Percentage of Fault
The amount of fault that a plaintiff is found to have in an accident is a key factor in determining a settlement figure. Arizona is a “pure comparative negligence state”. This means any compensation that a plaintiff is entitled to will be lowered by the percentage of their own negligence.
In other words, say driver A and driver B get into a car accident. By examining evidence, a determination has been made that driver A is 20% responsible for the accident, and driver B is 80% responsible. Driver A has filed a personal injury suit and is pursuing compensation for damages from driver B. However, because driver A is found to be 20% at fault for the crash, they can only collect 80% of the total amount of financial compensation.
Factors That Insurance Companies Must Compensate For
When fault is determined in a personal injury case, there are some factors that the liable party must pay for. Thus, the at-fault party's insurance company must ensure that the settlement value covers these costs. Two categories of damages emerge here: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are costs that can be monetarily counted, such as all bills that the plaintiff was forced to pay in response to the incident. The economic damages that must be compensated for are:
- All expenses that the plaintiff paid for medical treatment. However, the plaintiff must prove that a bill's amount is “reasonable” or “customary”, as well as necessary to treat an injury caused by the accident.
- Property damage from the accident (the insurance company will consider paying either to repair property damage or compensate the property's actual market value depending on which option is less expensive)
- Any income that was lost due to the incident
Non-economic damages are costs that cannot be exactly calculated and address any decline in the plaintiff's quality of life. The non-economic damages that must be compensated are:
- Any long-term disfigurement or disability that is incurred from the incident
- Any physical pain and suffering that the plaintiff now suffers from
- Any emotional pain and suffering, such as PTSD, that resulted from the incident
Don't Go Through the Personal Injury Process Alone. Hire an Experienced Arizona Attorney to Navigate the Process for You
If you want to receive the most compensation possible in a personal injury case, the best step you can take is to hire an attorney that is experienced with this process. Personal injury attorneys have a lot of experience in dealing with insurance companies. By examining your case and understanding its unique circumstances, the best representation will determine what you are qualified to receive and negotiate on your behalf to make sure you get a fair settlement offer.
Attorney Keith Hammond has earned his personal injury clients millions of dollars for their claims over the course of his career. The Glazer, Hammond & Ruben team is experienced, well-known, and prepared to take each step necessary to earn their clients the settlement they deserve. Don't miss out on receiving more money for your personal injury claim. Get in touch with Glazer, Hammond & Ruben PLLC today and schedule a consultation to discuss your options.