Understanding How Adjusters Value Personal Injury Cases

The most loaded question personal injury attorneys commonly get from their clients is this: How much do you think my case is worth? There is so much that goes into answering this question that it’s almost impossible to answer. With that said, I can tell you several factors that are essential in any personal injury settlement valuation process.

First factor is if there is someone who is clearly at fault for the accident. If the other party is clearly responsible for the accident, the adjuster knows that the insurance company will have to pay something to the injured to close out the file. If the at fault person was being careless or irresponsible, this is even more important. If on the other hand, there is some mutual responsibility for the accident, the adjuster has some leverage to play hard ball. In these situations, the adjuster is aware that the injured could spend countless time and money on their case, go to trial, and not get anything.

Second factor is the amount of medical bills and lost wages the accident produces. If the injury brings upon substantial medical bills, expensive surgeries or procedures, an adjuster will understand that severity of the accident. It’s even more important if you have a treating doctor who will give their medical opinion that the treatment provided is related to the accident. However, if the injury only produces minimal treatment, the adjuster will likely see the accident as insignificant. Same goes for lost wages. If the accident requires the injured to miss work for an extended period of time and this is backed by doctor’s recommendation, this is important. But, if the accident does not produce work restrictions or the injury does not require missing work, this is also important.

Lastly, adjusters want to know how the accident has impacted the person’s daily living temporarily and permanently, if applicable. Not all accidents produce permanent injuries, but may take a person out of their daily routine for an extended period time. Being unable to perform simple tasks around the house, such as cooking and cleaning is important. At the same time, how the injury affects one’s ability to take part in their favorite hobbies such as golf or fishing is also significant. Creating a log to document how the injuries affect your daily living is a great idea because a lot of times we forget and take for granted simple tasks we all routinely were able to do without even paying attention.

Please send any request for topic suggestions to rene@breenandperson.com.  Although we cannot give you legal advice through the column, we can provide some general information that may be helpful for you to know.  Our purpose is to educate and we hope that you can take something new away from this column each time you read it.