In Texas the value of a personal injury is the result of a complex array of factors including the insurance company, the insurance policy, the type of injury, where the injury occurred, the severity of injury, lost wages and other personal financial costs, the expected future medical expenses and lost wages, the incentive to the insurance company and its adjusters to underpay claims, the severity of pain and suffering, the age of the injured person, the type of work performed by the injured person and the income potential in that field and a host of other potential facts.
There is no one single formula to determine the proper amount of recovery for a given injury. Car accident lawyers who help clients with these claims understand how to assess the probable value of your claim.
Negligence claims in Texas
Most injuries occur as a result of negligence or an accidental injury, such as a car accident or injury on somebody else’s property. In these cases, there is almost always going to be an insurance policy covering the injuries caused by negligence. When there is an insurance policy, the insurer pays a claim against the policy. If a lawsuit arises the policy invokes a duty to defend the policyholder. The insurer’s attorneys will either settle or defend at trial.
Insurance companies have an incentive to pay as little as possible on a claim. The money they pay comes out of their pockets. Each insurer adopts a different approach to paying claims. Some are aggressive about trying to underpay claims while others are more reasonable. Some use mathematical formulas like the “multiplier formula” which limits the amount of pain and suffering to a percentage of the medical damages to arrive at a “fair” number they will pay. Others use software that calculates expected expenses for an injury, pain and suffering and what it knows about the attorney.
Insurers always calculate the value of a claim on the low side for several reasons. This can make settling a claim a longer process. It can also make it more difficult for a person without an attorney to receive a fair settlement. Adjusters mislead and misinform people to pressure them into accepting less money. Additionally, knowing people who handle their own claims are less likely to file suit plays into their offers.
Fair settlements with insurance companies in Texas
There are many factors that can also go into calculating a fair settlement offer to the insurance company. These include previously accrued medical expenses, expected future expenses, lost wages due to receiving treatment or disabling pain that prevented working, lost personal opportunities such as special events, vacations, or school events that you could not attend, whether there is permanent disability or disfigurement, prior and future pain and future lost income. Understanding how to calculate the value of future losses, expenses and pain is an important part of determining the settlement. The insurance company will try to undervalue these future amounts.