What Is My Car Wreck Case Worth?
First, An Analogy
When I was a kid, I collected baseball cards. As often as possible, I would purchase the Beckett Baseball Card magazine that literally listed every baseball card by year, player, and “value.” I would get extremely excited when my Ryne Sandberg rookie card or my Wade Boggs rookie card would get a higher value. Even better was when I would buy a pack of cards and there would be a Ken Griffey Jr. or a Barry Bonds card! But, my father would always tell me that my cards are not worth what that magazine said– they are only worth what someone else would pay me to have that card.
Insurance Companies Are Buying Risk
The same idea works in personal injury claim evaluation. A car wreck claim is only worth what the insurance company will pay for the claim to go away. An insurance company evaluates your claim based upon certain data points. They place these data points into a computer program, such as a program called “Colossus”. These programs will evaluate the data and formulate a “value.” The insurance adjusters will then try to settle the claim for less than that “value,” and not more.
If you want more than that “value” you will have to file a personal injury lawsuit in a Texas court (such as this one). Basically, these programs evaluate the risk of having a judgment and what the expected judgment would be in the case with the data points entered. If you will settle for less than the value affixed by the program, then the insurance company will buy the risk from you. If you will not settle for that amount, then the insurance company will take their chances at trial.
What Types of Information Goes Into the “Value”?
When it comes to figuring out what your Texas car wreck case or personal injury claim is worth, it is important to know what data is used to determine “value.” Some of the items of information that an insurance company uses to evaluate a claim include, but are not limited to:
- Type of impact – such as speed, vehicle types, rear end collision or head on;
- Types of Injuries – are the injuries more muscular in nature or are there tears or breaks?
- Is there a brain injury?
- Out of pocket damages – such as lost wages, personal property damage
- Types of Treatment – this includes the identities of the providers and consistency of the treatments
- Reasonable Costs of Medical Treatment
- Is Future Treatment Necessary?
- Are there any scars or deformities?
- Is there any long term disability or impairment?
- Witness credibility and whether witnesses are believable.
This is just a partial list and is, in no way, an exhaustive list.
Online Calculators are Worthless
Every Texas personal injury case is different and, frankly, all Texas personal injury attorneys evaluate car wreck claims differently. The online “calculators” are worthless. These calculators do not undertake efforts to evaluate each area of risk, nor do they take into consider trends in Texas courtrooms. If you use one of those calculators to figure out what you should settle a Texas car wreck case for, you have probably gotten bad advice.
The only true way to understand what your Texas personal injury case is worth is to speak with a personal injury attorney. Most Texas lawyers will give a free consultation for a car wreck case. Take that opportunity.