We will answer this question with a typical lawyer answer: it depends. There is no exact recipe or price tag on personal injury claims. Here are some of the things that determine the value of your personal injury claim:
• Why did the accident happen? Let’s say the road conditions were covered with ice—cars everywhere were sliding off the road, and the person that hit you was trying to drive carefully but slid into you despite his best efforts. Yes, despite his care, the driver probably still was going too fast for conditions, and as a result, he was at fault. But a jury will take the road conditions into account and give you a lower verdict. The insurance company knows this and will offer you a lower settlement. On the other hand, if the driver that hit you was drunk, reckless and had an empty vodka bottle lying on the floorboard, you should demand and expect to get the maximum.
• How severe are your injuries? If you need surgery and have high medical bills, and your wounds will remain permanent, you should expect a very high settlement.
• Who collided with or injured you? Who hits with you makes a difference. You can expect a larger verdict or settlement offer if a tractor-trailer collides with you. Why? Because insurance companies know that juries dislike tractor-trailer trucks. We are all scared of them. On the other hand, if the person who hit you is a little old grandmother driving a small Kia, the insurance company probably will offer you less. Why? Because the insurance company knows that the jury will feel sorry for a little old grandmother.
• How often does your lawyer go to court? Believe it or not, it makes a difference how often your lawyer has been to court. Insurance companies keep up with that information. If they think your lawyer simply settles everything that comes into the office, they know the lawyer will try to talk to the client into “take low and go.” Always, always ask how often your attorney goes to court. If the answer is “often,” you will get a settlement offer reflecting that your attorneys are fighters.
Always Demand Top Dollar
Demanding top dollar doesn’t mean the insurance company will pay it. But if you don’t ask, you don’t get it. n If you decide to go to trial and file a complaint, always demand a high number in your complaint. Why? Because an injury victim cannot ever collect more than the amount asked for in the complaint, even if a jury wants to give you more.
If you think you need help demanding money from an insurance company or you feel you need to file a complaint against someone that injured you, call us at (423) 892-5533 or fill out our convenient form online, and we will contact you shortly.
Remember, you can also download our free books for personal injury cases in Tennessee and Georgia if you have been involved in an accident.