When we think about insurance, words that should immediately come to mind are protection, security and safety. Insurance companies advertise these qualities as well, but we unfortunately see a different story when they are evaluating personal injury claims. Here, we discuss how insurance companies evaluate personal injury claims and how the Colorado Springs personal injury lawyers at Heuser & Heuser are here to help.
Compensation from Insurance Companies
As we all know, there are multiple insurance companies that each advertise their own variety of policies. Generally speaking, though, they all offer the same, standard kinds of compensation. Medically-related expenses, injuries that result in permanent disfigurement or disabilities, and emotional conditions that arise from the injury are all subject to compensation.
Insurance companies should also compensate for any property that is damaged, as well as expenses associated with the injury preventing you from attending school, going on vacation or attending special events. Also, if an injury prevents you from working, insurance companies are often required to provide compensation for any income lost during this time.
Damages Formula: Calculating How Much Your Pain is Worth
Determining compensation values for some losses, such as lost income or medical bills, can be fairly straightforward. But how do insurance companies determine monetary amounts for less tangible losses like pain, suffering and emotional distress?
Insurance adjusters begin with the “special medical damages,” the total amount of medical expenses resulting from the injury. This amount for the “special damages” is the basis from which adjusters begin calculating how much to compensate you for your other losses, also known as “general damages.”
In order to calculate the worth of the “general damages,” insurance adjusters multiply the dollar amount of “special damages” by 1.5 to two for more minor damages or by five to 10 for more serious or extreme damages.
If the injuries resulted in any lost income, the adjusters add that amount to the damages total. Adjusters then factor in the value of the income lost due to the injuries. This amount at the end of the damages formula is the base amount from which adjusters begin negotiations based on who is at fault for the injuries.
Who is at Fault and How it Determines Compensation
This final step in the process has the largest influence on how much the insurance company is likely to compensate you for your injuries. The insurance adjuster negotiates with you to determine who holds the majority of the responsibility of the fault, and the amount of fault you are responsible for is known as the “comparative fault percentage.”
This percentage is removed from the total of the damages formula, and the result is the final compensation amount. After all of these negotiations, the amount the insurance company decides to compensate for is many times far lower than what is fair and necessary.
At this point, consulting a Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer at Heuser & Heuser for advice and assistance can be essential in getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we will represent you and your personal injury case.