Date:July 21, 2014
Anna Goulet Zimmerman discusses how an attorney can help in evaluating your case.
After an accident, the insurance company may ask if you are interested in settling and what you think would be a fair settlement. In some instances, the insurance company may actually make an offer of settlement. In either situation, as experienced Manchester personal injury lawyers, people will call us wanting to know what their case is worth. This is not a question that can easily be answered.
First, you should not consider settling your claim until you are at a medical endpoint. This generally means you are fully recovered, or that your condition has stabilized and is as good as it is going to get. Until this point, you will not know what your total medical bills, expenses, and other harms and losses are. We have spoken with many people over the years who settled their claims early for small amounts that seemed reasonable, only to then need more medical care, such as surgery, the costs of which were far more than the settlement received. In New Hampshire you typically have three years from the date of your injury to settle or file suit. Accordingly, there is no reason to rush a settlement in the early stages of your treatment.
After you have reached a medical endpoint, you will need to consider whether future care is needed. In cases where there are serious and permanent injuries, such as when there is paralysis or a significant head injury, a life care plan can be done which projects the cost of treatment over your lifetime. In some cases, knowing this figure is critical.
Once all the medical costs are known, an attorney will look at the total harms and losses you suffered to determine what is a fair and reasonable settlement amount. We consider many factors such as the nature of the injuries, the treatment received, scarring, and any permanent limitations. If there are any problems that need to be factored in (such as large gaps in treatment or a preexisting condition), we consider these as well. We also look at your lost wages, and if you are going to be able to return to work.
As a plaintiff in a personal injury case, you will naturally want to know how much your case is worth. This is one of the reasons why you should retain a quality Manchester personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Your attorney will outline the severity of your injuries and the optimal way to recover damages.
Some people think there is an easy formula that can be used. This is not the case. We must review the facts and circumstances of every case and consider how a jury would value what happened and the specific harms and losses suffered. For this reason, we believe everyone should consult with the experienced Manchester personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman, PLLC at (603) 624-7200 before accepting an offer, or even discussing any settlement numbers with an insurance company.