At Clark and Steinhorn, LLC we have handled literally thousands of car and truck accident cases and as a consequence, have some thoughts about how such cases should be evaluated for settlement purposes. Across a broad swath of cases and a dizzying array of insurance carriers some common themes leap out at one.
- Settlement value is not trial value. Settling a case naturally contemplates some compromise from the maximum value of any case. The insurance companies recognize that if you have to file a lawsuit they may not have to pay you for as much as a year and value case offers for pre-suit settlement accordingly.
- You may think a particular injury should be considered in settlement discussions but unless it is specifically addressed in medical reports and tied into the crash, the insurance company will give it little consideration or compensation.
- Lost wages must be justified in writing from your employer and the time lost must be deemed "medically necessary" by your doctor in writing.
- Insurance companies want to see pre-accident records if you need surgery and particularly where it is clear you have received medical attention for the same or similar injuries.
- Insurance companies are highly skeptical about extensive treatment and/or therapy where the crash itself produced little damage to the vehicles involved.
- Delays in treatment or long time gaps in treatment matter. If you don't get medical treatment for weeks or months after the car or truck crash it will be far more difficult to persuade the insurance adjusters that the accident they are dealing with is the cause. Similarly, ir you receive treatment and the stop for months and then resume you will greeted with skepticism.
- Prior accident or injury claims matter. If you've been hurt in a collision before, the insurance industry database will know and insurance adjusters will bring it up and try and devalue your case.
- Subsequent accident or injury claims matter as well.