It’s common for potential personal injury plaintiffs to ask what their case is worth. There is no clear-cut answer to this question, but there is quite a bit of information that can provide insight as to how the amounts are calculated, what factors are considered, and what an experienced attorney can do to improve the likelihood of getting the best settlement possible.
New Jersey requires all drivers to carry car insurance so that victims of car accidents have a way to get compensation, and all of these car insurance policies must include coverage for Personal Injury Protection, also known as PIP. So, when people or their dependents are injured in a collision, these benefits are available to cover medical bills.
WHAT PIP BENEFITS WILL, AND WILL NOT COVER
PIP benefits must cover personal injuries to the insured or their dependents when they are riding in a vehicle involved in a crash, entering or exiting a vehicle, or a pedestrian hit by a vehicle. But these PIP benefits will only pay for what the law calls “economic damages,” such as medical bills and wages lost because the injured person can’t work. They do not cover pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or other, non-economic types of damage.
It’s also important to note that PIP benefits have policy limits. The required PIP coverage minimum is a mere $15,000 and the insurer is not required to pay anything over the policy limit. You will need to sue to recover money for expenses over the PIP amount.
SHOULD I PURSUE A LAWSUIT?
If your insurer denies PIP benefits or your medical costs exceed the PIP policy limit, a lawyer can file a lawsuit to force them to pay for your economic losses. They also may be able to get money for non-economic damages like pain and suffering or mental anguish, especially if the accident resulted in permanent injury.
The extent of your injuries and fault of the other driver are factors in determining the amount of a settlement. A lawyer will work with you to collect all of the evidence needed to present a strong case. For example, you will want to show the severity of your injuries and provide adequate supporting medical records. Proof of the other driver’s fault, such as a police report and eyewitness accounts, can also increase the amount you receive.
HOW DO INSURANCE COMPANIES COME UP WITH A SETTLEMENT AMOUNT?
Nowadays, insurance companies rely on computer software programs that apply formulas to come up with settlement calculations. The problem is that such programs can’t measure the real extent of an injured person’s pain and suffering. It can’t foresee possible future expenses caused by issues that develop weeks or months after your accident. And, two people with the very same injury can have their lives impacted in very different ways.
You don’t have to accept what the program calculates for you. Even after insurance adjustment software arrives at a settlement amount, the insurance adjuster assigned to your case may have some leeway in negotiating further.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact Rosenblum Law for a free, no-obligation consultation today.