How Insurance Companies Evaluate the Value of a Claim
Many people who pursue personal injury claims make the mistake of settling their claim too early without realizing that they are entitled to a higher settlement amount. Settling for less than you deserve can have long-term financial repercussions as the settlement amount you accept may not fully cover your future costs and losses.
If you want to know how much your claim is worth and how you can maximize your compensation, you first need to understand how insurance companies evaluate personal injury claims. If you file a claim and the insurer makes a settlement offer, do not accept it until you speak with an attorney.
Our personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeff Martin can provide you with the guidance you need in your case and explain what amount would be considered adequate and fair in your particular situation. Jeff and his team are based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but serve clients throughout Eastern Oklahoma.
Every Insurance Company Wants to Make Money
No two personal injury cases are exactly alike. This is the first thing to keep in mind when settling your claim. The second thing to keep in mind is that every insurance company is in business to make a profit. The insurance company’s bottom line depends on the amount of money it pays to claimants. For this reason, insurers tend to make lowball settlement offers in an effort to save money and increase their profit margins. That is why you might want to consult with an attorney when the insurance company makes a settlement offer. Your attorney will determine how reasonable the insurer’s offer is and, if it is too low, will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to fight for full and fair compensation.
Factors Considered by Insurance Companies
When evaluating the value of any injury claim, insurance companies consider an array of factors, including but not limited to:
the type and severity of the claimant’s injury
whether the claimant’s fault contributed to the injury
the losses suffered by the claimant
whether any long-term costs will be necessary
the impact of the injury on the claimant’s life
the claimant’s ability to work and earn a living
the level of pain, suffering, and discomfort experienced by the claimant
the strength of the evidence presented by the claimant
the credibility of witnesses in the claimant’s case
whether the claimant is represented by an attorney
These and many other factors play a role when the insurance company is calculating how much a personal injury claim is worth. Many injured victims do not realize that their actions during and after the accident also affect how much money they can receive in settlement negotiations as insurance companies also look at the claimant’s comparative fault and actions taken to mitigate damages:
Comparative fault. Oklahoma follows a modified comparative fault model when it comes to negligence. Under this rule, while you can seek compensation for your injuries and losses even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you will not be entitled to receive the full amount. Your total compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. However, if you are at least 50% at fault, you will be barred from recovering damages.
Actions to mitigate damages. Anyone who gets injured is expected to take all reasonable steps to limit the amount of damages they may incur. In personal injury cases, this means seeking immediate medical attention and following doctor’s orders for recovery. If the insurance company has reason to believe that you failed to take the appropriate steps to mitigate damages, the insurer is likely to reduce the value of your claim.
Each case is unique, which is why you might want to get assistance from an attorney to ensure that you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve based on the circumstances of your case.
What You Can Do to Maximize Your Compensation
If you have suffered injuries, there are certain things you can do to ensure that you are receiving the fair and full compensation you are owed:
Document everything. This includes everything at the scene of your accident (witness statements, photos, videos, police/accident reports, etc.) and your communication with the insurance company.
Seek immediate medical attention. Many claimants make the mistake of not seeking prompt medical care after the accident. If you do not seek medical attention within a reasonable amount of time, the insurance company may argue that your injuries are not as serious as you claim or that you were injured elsewhere.
Do not settle too quickly. The insurance company may make a settlement offer within days or even hours after the accident. In the vast majority of cases, a quick settlement offer is the lowest possible amount the insurer can come up with. Claimants who are too desperate and do not even remotely understand the value of their claim are usually tempted to accept those quick, lowball settlement offers.
Hire an attorney. This may be one of the most important steps you can take to maximize your compensation. Your attorney will help you navigate the complex legal process, ensure that you are treated fairly by the insurance company, and fight for the money you are entitled to.
Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeff Martin can assist you at every step of the personal injury claims process and ensure that you know how much your claim is worth.
Fight for the Compensation You Deserve
At the Law Offices of Jeff Martin, we strive to provide injured victims with the individualized attention they deserve. Our personal injury attorneys can review the facts of your case and help you determine the actual value of your claim so that you do not settle for less than you deserve. Reach out to our office today to get a case evaluation. We are available 24/7 by phone.