There are several factors that may affect the value of a personal injury case. That being said, there is no exact science to the evaluation of any accident case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you analyze your case. This discussion assumes you were actually injured in an auto accident.
Here are some factors that might influence the evaluation:
1) The severity of the impact and the amount of property damage. If you have to squint to see the damage to your vehicle, you will have an uphill battle getting any sympathy from an insurance company - even if the impact felt huge! In short, if have minimal property damage, most insurance companies won't believe your injury. As a general rule, the more visible property damage you have, the more the insurance company will believe your injury.
2) The severity of the injury. Minor soft tissue sprains and strains don’t impress adjusters or juries. Therefore, if all you have is a minor soft tissue injury, you shouldn't expect a high valuation of your case. Of course, there are "degrees" of soft tissue injuries, but as a general rule, insurance companies are more likely to fight soft tissue cases. The inverse is true - the more serious your injuries (fractures, surgery performed, etc.), the more value your case will usually have. Also, how the accident affected your daily life may be considered by some insurance adjusters.
3) Your age. Simply put, the older you are, the more susceptible you are to injury. Younger people generally have a harder time convincing an adjuster they had appreciable injury. Most insurance companies believe that younger claimants are more resilient and therefore more resistant to injury.
4) Residual injury. If you have injuries that won’t resolve and are projected to last a long time (or indefinitely), it may affect the value of your case. Also, permanent injuries can affect the value of your accident case as will anything requiring surgical intervention. Injuries that appears on xrays, MRIs, CT scans, etc. may also affect the value of your case assuming they are indeed related to the accident. Pre-existing injuries to the same body parts may also affect the insurance company's opinion.
5) The Insurance Company/Adjuster - I hate to say this, but some insurance companies are notoriously stingy. Unless your head popped off your body and rolled down the street, they will almost always give you a hard time. Similarly, the insurance adjuster assigned to your case may factor into the valuation. Simply put, some adjusters are cynical and suspicious folks who think everyone is trying to scam the system while other adjusters can be more reasonable.
There are other factors, but in my experience, these are among the top considerations. If you would like an evaluation of your car accident case, give our office a call at (661) 414-7100.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,