How Much is My Case Worth?
Every Oregon car accident case is different, but each is affected by many of the same factors. Using these factors, insurance companies evaluate collision claims and determine what they believe to be their risk should an auto accident claim go to trial. Using evidence to figure out the likely value of a claim is the most accurate way to decide whether to settle it for any particular amount.
Oregon Car Accident Settlement Myths
The least accurate way is to consider your claim in light of common myths about car accident values. Here are some of those myths:
- An auto accident case should be settled for two or three times the amount of medical bills.
- The insurance company will pay a fair amount for a minor injury to avoid spending money on a lawsuit.
- The insurance company will pay something for the hassle that an injured person goes through to make a claim.
Relying on myths like those above to settle your claim without the advice of an Oregon car accident lawyer can lead to serious disappointment if you later discover that your injuries are more severe or require more treatment than you believed. Formulas are not useful predictors of case value because each case is unique, and statistics show that insurers are more willing to fight claims that once might have been paid.
Most Important Evidence for Evaluating the Value of a Car Accident Case
The single most important evidence that determines the value of an Oregon car accident claim is the seriousness of the injury. A motor vehicle collision can inflict devastating, life-changing injuries. Some of these harms, however, may not be easily seen or understood. Chronic, disabling pain, for example, may follow even a low-speed impact. The seriousness of the injury may be masked by the apparent lack of seriousness of the property damage after a car accident.
Insurance adjusters are likely to say things like, “This is a minor impact case – a fender bender. There is hardly any damage. It could not have caused anyone to be seriously hurt.” “Common sense” arguments like this have a dangerous appeal—dangerous because they can lead jurors to nod their heads and return verdicts with damages far less than the actual harm suffered in an auto collision even when the vehicles are not crumpled. A large percentage of jurors in minor impact auto accident cases likely have the preconceived idea that the injured person and his or her lawyer are going to try to “game” the system to get something for nothing. The minor impact, fender-bender defense argument exploits such beliefs.
There is generally no connection between crash and injury severity. The extent of the damage to the car in an accident and the extent of the occupants’ personal injuries caused by the accident simply do not go hand-in-hand. A big dent does not always mean serious injury, and a small dent does not rule out serious injury. A “big dent” or even a crushed vehicle accident is actually less likely to result in severe injury because much of the collision’s force is absorbed by crushing metal.
Nevertheless, if x-rays or MRI scans do not show an injury and there was little damage to the car. the insurance company will likely make only a “low-ball” offer that may be even less than the full amount of medical bills. An Oregon car accident lawyer can demonstrate the severity of seemingly minor “low-impact” injuries through medical evidence and expert witness testimony.
if the injury is serious, an accident attorney is also essential. The insurance company will almost certainly not pay the correct value on the claim unless the injured person is willing and able to take the case to trial. When harm is clear and liability of the insured driver is provable, the absence of an attorney willing and able to bring the case to a successful verdict is a gift to the insurer. The company can present what appears to be a generous offer to an injured person who lacks the experience to calculate value. You can be sure that any amount offered voluntarily will be less than what the insurer has calculated it may have to pay if a jury is faced with the facts.
Contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation car accident lawyer consultation
We provide a free legal consultation to discuss your injuries and help protect your legal rights. If we take your case, we will pursue a fair settlement or verdict for you aggressively. Please call us toll free at (800) 714-3204 or in Portland at (503) 975-8298 or use our injury lawyer contact form to tell us about your car accident online.