Subject: How are Settlements Determined?
Two of my children were injured in an accident while driving my car. My 16 year old sprained her ankle and my 15 year old broke one of her front teeth. After speaking to the adjuster, she stated that after all dental and medical charges are submitted and finalized, my 15 year old would be receiving a settlement because the injury is a permanent one. I would like to know what criteria is used to determine what a settlement should be and how do I go about ensuring that my child will have the funds to cover any other needed dental work.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Subject: How are Settlements Determined?
There is no simple answer; all you can be sure of is that the insurance adjustor's goal is to minimize the settlement, and she is extremely experienced in doing so. It is like going in to a used car dealer and asking, 'How much should I pay for the car you are selling." In cases that are not serious, that's okay, because it is not worth it to hire a lawyer. In serious cases, although a lawyer will be compensated from 1/3 to 40% of the total settlement, it is usually necessary to hire a lawyer to be sure of fairness.
That said, there is no formula for settlement, but here are some guidelines:
1. Don't settle until you are sure what the futre holds in the way of medical treatment
2. Watch the statute of limitations - there are times within which claims must be filed, or they are lost.
3. If there is a complete healing of the injured party, and you don't have to hire a lawyer, settilng for 2 to 3 times the total medical/dental bills is considered fair by most.