A lot of different factors go into how the value of an auto accident claim gets calculated. While there are online injury calculators that you can use to try to get an estimate, there are other factors that can make the process much more complicated than it seems. Keep in mind that the following things can significantly change the amount of any settlement offer you receive.
Gaps In Treatment
A gap in your medical care can be used to undermine your claim. If you saw a doctor once after the accident for a whiplash injury and bruised knee and then didn't make it back to see the doctor again for 6 months, that's a potential weakness in your case. It's going to be important to discuss with your attorney why you didn't seek medical care during that time period if your personal injury was allegedly still causing you problems and pain.
The defense may argue that your pain or limitations couldn't have been that bad if you didn't even bother to get treatment for an extended period of time. If you don't have any other reason for not going, they may be fairly convincing. On the other hand, if you were following a doctor's orders to allow a certain amount of healing time before you pursued any further treatment, that's entirely reasonable. A gap caused by a lack of insurance coverage is also less of a problem.
Another thing that can devalue your claim is non-compliance with your doctor's orders. Were you ordered to do physical therapy? If you didn't go, that's another signal that your injuries weren't troubling you enough to make it worth the effort. Were you ordered to wear a brace? If you didn't, and you're now suffering from neck pain that might have otherwise healed, you could be found partially responsible for your own condition, which will also reduce your claim.
On the other hand, if you sought a second opinion from another medical expert who recommended against the course of treatment for some reason, then your attorney can argue that you made a reasonable decision about your medical care based on a doctor's advice.
Medical bills are one of the most significant factors used to determine the amount of a settlement. The total of cost of your bills is usually multiplied by a figure from 1.5 to 5 in order to calculate pain and suffering. Generally speaking, the higher the medical costs, the higher the multiplier that will be used.
However, not all medical bills are treated alike. If several of your medical bills are merely expensive diagnostic tests, the insurance company paying the claim may try to exclude those from any calculation of your pain and suffering. The argument is likely to be that they aren't reflective of treatment, so they shouldn't be considered an accurate gauge of your pain and suffering.
Your attorney, on the other hand, may argue that you still deserve to have those diagnostic tests included, particularly if they were painful or difficult tests to undergo, or if they were necessary to show your progressive healing.
If you feel that you may not be fairly compensated for your injuries following an auto accident, talk to an attorney in your area today.