Is Settling My Personal Injury Claim Usually Better Than Going To Trial?
Whether or not to settle a personal injury claim depends on whether there is an offer to settle, and whether it’s a reasonable offer or not. The choice to settle is always up to the client. I make a recommendation, but ultimately it’s the client’s choice whether to accept the offer or not. If you accept a settlement, then you have a guarantee that you are going to recover some kind of money out of the case. If you go to trial, you could recover a lot more. However, if you lose, then you get nothing.
Is There A Minimum Settlement Amount That Insurance Companies Have To Offer?
There is no minimum settlement that the insurance company or defendant has to make. You could have a great case and they could refuse to offer any money on the case, and so you would proceed to trial. There is nothing obligating anyone to make an offer to settle a case and there is nothing obligating my client to accept an offer on a case. It could be a very small case and there could be a very reasonable offer on the table, and if the client doesn’t want to accept it then the case proceeds.
Does The Severity Of My Injury increase The Likelihood Of A Larger Settlement?
The more serious the injury, the more monetary value the case has. It is likely you will have permanent ramifications from a severe injury. It may be scarring, it may be limited motion, it may be what’s called an internal fixation device, which is hardware placed in your body that you are going to have for the rest of your life, all which may impact the way you live.
How Do Pre-Existing Conditions Impact A Personal Injury Settlement Offer?
It’s very difficult to differentiate when you have a pre-existing condition and you have re-injured that area of your body in another accident. You have to try to pinpoint which injury is from the accident, and which was pre-existing. Therefore, it does have an impact. Many times it will completely bar you from recovering on the case if there is no new injury from the accident.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement? How Can It Affect My Auto Accident Case?
Maximum medical improvement just means that you are not seeking any further treatment for the medical condition that you are complaining of; you’ve reached a full recovery. For example, if you break your leg, are in a cast for six weeks, have physical therapy for six weeks, and then are able to 100% resume your normal activities of life, you have reached maximum medical improvement. That’s not always possible. A more serious injury can impact a person for life, and that impacts the value of the case.
What Role Does An Independent Medical Examination Play In A Personal Injury Case?
Independent Medical Examinations are commonly referred to as IMEs. One area in which IMEs are used is in no-fault insurance states, such as New York. In a no-fault insurance state, your own insurance company will pay for your medical bills during the time that you are seeking treatment for a car accident. However, if the insurance company no longer finds that further treatment is warranted, they will send you to one of their own doctors to be examined. They will write a report that says you no longer need treatment because you are 100% recovered from this car accident, and they will no longer have to pay for related medical bills.
The other area in which IMEs are commonly utilized is personal injury cases. The defendant is entitled to examine the plaintiff. They will schedule an IME and, for example, if your injury is a broken leg, they will send you to an orthopedist. The orthopedist will examine the plaintiff and the medical records, solely for the purpose of testifying against the plaintiff at trial. There is no medical treatment, diagnosis, or doctor-patient relationship. The defendant’s goal is for the physician to testify that the fracture has healed 100% and there are no permanent ramifications from the injury.
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