Today’s post will cover a little bit about evaluating the settlement value of a soft tissue injury. A soft tissue injury is your standard neck sprain, back sprain, whiplash, etc. Basically, an injury to the muscles, tendons or ligaments that will heal over time.
There are many different opinions on the settlement value of a soft tissue injury. When I worked as an insurance adjuster my company used to place a settlement value range of $500 – $2,000 on soft tissue injuries, and would be willing to pay 6-8 weeks of physical therapy visits. That was generally the settlement an injured person could get on their own without the help of a Durham Personal Injury Attorney or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorney.
When I am evaluating a personal injury claim in preparation to send a demand letter, clients often ask me if the settlement value of their injury claim is three or four times their medical bills. Estimating the settlement value of your injury claim by using a multiplier is too simple and not a method that is commonly used today by Durham Injury Lawyers or Greensboro Injury Lawyers.
Using a multiplier is not consistent with how a jury will evaluate your injury claim, and it does not provide a good argument in favor of the value when you are speaking with an insurance adjuster or opposing defense attorney. A better method of evaluating an injury claim, if you must use a formula, is to place a certain dollar value for each day, week or month of medical treatment. For example, if you value the pain, suffering and inconvenience of each month of physical therapy at $1,500, then if you have 8 weeks of physical therapy you could demand $3,000 of pain and suffering, plus the cost of your medical bills. This is an easier method to explain to a North Carolina insurance adjuster or to a North Carolina jury. Also, the value you place on the pain, suffering and inconvenience of medical treatment depends on your individual circumstances, and you can adjust the number based on your circumstances (e.g., if you miss work, vacations, time with your kids, etc., then your number may be higher than $1,500).
Another question our Durham Accident Attorneys and Greensboro Accident Attorneys receive is how significant the amount of medical bills is in assessing the settlement value of a North Carolina injury claim. The amount of medical bills is definitely important in assessing the settlement value of your personal injury case. However, it is less important than the circumstances surrounding your injury, your treatment, your recovery, and the overall effect the injury and treatment has had on your lifestyle. Also, receiving too much medical treatment, unnecessary medical treatment or unreasonably expensive medical treatment can be very harmful to your case in a couple ways. First, the insurance company and jury will not be required to reimburse you for the unreasonable medical bills, so you or your health insurance company will be responsible for paying for those medical bills. Second, just the appearance of obtaining unreasonable medical treatment for the purpose of inflating the value of your personal injury claim can affect your credibility and can turn the insurance company or jury against you, resulting in you receiving less value for the pain and suffering portion of your claim.
If you would like a free evaluation of the settlement value of your North Carolina personal injury claim feel free to contact one of our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers or Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.