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How to avoid losing the value of your personal injury claim

  • Published: March 18, 2014

“What is my claim worth?” must be the most common question asked by prospective clients. And wouldn’t it all be easier if there really were some magical formula: this much for a broken leg, that much for a torn shoulder, another amount for a wrongful death. Many years ago, many personal injury cases could be resolved for right around three times the medical bills, but laws and times change and that is no longer a reliable method for evaluating cases. And so the answer is, like so many other things, it depends. What I can tell you here are a few rules to follow that will help you avoid lowering the value of your claim, whatever that value may be:

  1. Seek treatment right away: If you believe you are injured, seek help from a medical professional, it’s that simple. Waiting to see if things improve on their own might be reasonable in the real world, but in the world of claims, an insurance adjuster or defense attorney will seize on any significant delay in initial treatment to argue that the problems you have come from some other source.
  2. Follow your doctor’s advice: Failure to do so (particularly when physical therapy is recommended) will result in that same claims adjuster or defense attorney arguing either that you weren’t really that injured or that you made yourself worse unnecessarily.
  3. Follow up with your doctor: This is similar to number 1. There may be valid, real world reasons for that two month gap in your treatment. From the adjuster’s perspective, that gap means that you were fully recovered from your injuries. They will argue that the further treatment you go back for was unrelated to the accident.

Following those three rules is important for improving your medical outcome. It will also have the side effect of maintaining the potential value of your personal injury claim.