Ever ask yourself what you would do for a million dollars? Many people would be willing to: swim with man-eating sharks, eat a bowl of maggots, or even swing on a net-less trapeze. These mental games never pose the most likely question: How much for your health? People who are injured in an accident caused by someone else’s mistake rarely get what they would ask for. A simple automobile accident can leave you with whiplash syndrome. This is a sterile name for: chronic occipital headaches, neck and scapular pain, restricted range of motion, chronic insomnia and inability to perform normal activities pain-free. If you go get an impairment rating you might get a 5% impairment and a tiny check for compensation. Why do the personal injury verdicts or settlements vary so widely? Because some people have a skilled personal injury attorney while others….
UNDERSTANDING INSURANCE ADJUSTERS
Within a few days of getting in an accident you will be contacted by an insurance adjuster for the party responsible for your injury. It is never a good idea to give the adjuster any type of statement before talking to a skilled personal injury attorney. It is an even bigger error to ignore the adjuster. Why? The adjuster’s job is two-fold. First, he needs to find out and, if he can, limit what you describe as your injuries and damages. He will try to get you to quantify all of your injuries and property damage. The problem is: You don’t and can’t know all your damages that early on. You will likely be under the influence of pain medications and your memory may even be somewhat muddled. It is always preferable to have a skilled Salt Lake City UT personal injury lawyer call the adjuster and fill him in on your condition and present treatment course, without limiting what you might need in the future. Second, the adjuster will be setting what are known as loss reserves. Loss reserves are the amount of money the adjuster estimates your case to be worth. Loss reserves can be easily adjusted by an experienced personal injury attorney who understands what elements add value to your case; however the longer the assumptions supporting the adjusters loss reserves go unchallenged the more difficult it is to arrive at a fair settlement.
HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CASE’S VALUEMaximizing your case’s value is a function of understanding the difference between a standard impairment rating and what the individual disability is arising out of the impairment. Almost any injury can, and is, reduced to an impairment rating. This rating, for the most part, is the same measurement used for all persons with the same injury and symptomatology. A skilled personal injury attorney’s job is to personalize the disability you suffer arising out of the impairment. For example, if two people suffer the exact same injury to their fingers they will likely get the same impairment rating. Now imagine that one is a concert pianist. Obviously the lifelong disability arising out of his impairment is different. The job of a personal injury attorney is to articulate how your disability is very much like that of the pianist. He can only do this if he takes the time to know more than your injury; he needs to know you. Only if your attorney takes the time to know how this injury has transformed your life and even the lives of those around you, will he be able to articulate your damages to an adjuster or jury and get what is just. Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into personal injury compensation.