How Insurance Companies Evaluate the Value of a Claim
In Hawaii, personal injury and negligent accident victims may be eligible to pursue compensation by filing a claim or lawsuit. Upon filing a claim, the insurance company will evaluate the magnitude of your injuries and damages and determine the value of your injury claim. However, various factors are often taken into consideration by the insurer to determine the actual value of a claim and the amount of compensation a plaintiff might be entitled to.
At Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, we are poised and ready to support and represent clients in their accident cases. Our Maui personal injury attorneys can investigate all of the facts of your unique situation and enlighten you about how the insurer evaluates the value of a claim. Also, our team will fight for your legal rights and work hard to help you recover the maximum available compensation.
Not All Claims Are Treated the Same
Statistics from the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) indicate that there were approximately 537 serious injuries in traffic crashes statewide in 2019. As mentioned earlier, accident victims are often within their rights to pursue compensation for their injuries through a claim. However, not all claims are equal. The insurer will assign an insurance adjuster to investigate the claims, review the accident report, and evaluate the magnitude of your injuries.
Generally, the insurance provider will evaluate the value of your claim based on your prospects of getting a favorable judgment at trial if you file a lawsuit. Also, the insurance carrier will consider the settlement amount that the judge or jury might possibly award to you in damages.
For instance, the insurance provider might undervalue a medical claim filed by a claimant with underlying health problems than someone with no pre-existing medical condition. This is because the insurer might be able to argue that the victim’s pre-existing medical condition might have caused the injury and not only the incident.
Similarly, for a truck accident, an insurance provider may undervalue a claim when the at-fault driver works for an upright trucking company with experienced drivers compared to an injury claim filed against a lower-end trucking company that may employ drivers that are not properly trained.
Factors That May Be Considered
Here are the factors that may be considered to determine the value of your injury claims:
The nature or severity of your injuries.
The economic losses or damages sustained.
The effect of the incident on your quality of life.
The cost of future medical treatments, lost income, and loss of potential earnings
The amount of time lost as a result of temporary incapacitation or receiving treatments.
The ability of the claimant to work in the future.
The level of pain, discomfort, and suffering experienced by the victim.
Whether the victim suffered from emotional or mental trauma.
Also, certain things you do before, during, and after the incident will also be considered by the insurance provider to determine the value of your claims. The following explores how your personal actions might factor into your settlement amount.
Comparative Fault in Hawaii
Hawaii operates using the "modified comparative fault" principle, with a 51% bar. Under the system, you may be eligible to seek compensation if you were partially or equally (50% or less) at fault for the accident or injury. However, the settlement amount you may recover would reduce by your fault percentage. According to Hawaii's modified comparative fault rule, you would be completely barred from seeking damages if you were more than 50% at fault for the accident or your injuries.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
Additionally, the insurance provider expects you to mitigate damage and comply with insurance requirements after the accident. This may include seeking immediate medical attention and following through with the suggested treatment. Essentially, the faster you can get medical help, the earlier you can start to recover. Also, the insurance provider may undervalue or deny your claims altogether if you fail to follow through with your treatment plan.
Steps You Can Take to Maximize Compensation
In order to maximize your financial compensation after an accident, you should take the steps below:
Seek immediate medical attention and make sure all your medical bills, records, and reports are properly documented.
Thoroughly evaluate all accident-related losses. Consider future damages you will suffer as a result of the accident as well.
Hire an experienced attorney to help file your claims and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer.
Don’t accept the first offer from the insurance company without review. It is usually low and won’t cover all your injuries and damages.
Gather as much evidence as possible. Also, ensure proper documentation of your injuries and how it has affected your daily life and work.
Only negotiate a settlement after you have fully recovered or attained MMI.
An experienced Hawaii car accident attorney can advocate for your best interests and help you pursue fair financial compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other available damages.
Understand Your Next Steps
Being involved in an accident can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. However, the next steps you take after the incident can affect the value and outcome of your injury claims.
At Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, we’re dedicated to offering outstanding legal services and protecting the rights of accident victims and their loved ones. Our trusted personal injury lawyers can guide you through the complex claims procedures and help you seek your deserved financial justice. As your legal counsel, we can review every detail of your unique situation, explore your options to recover damages, and determine the actual value of your claims.
If you’re considering filing an accident claim, contact us at Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, today to schedule a simple case evaluation. We’re proud to serve clients throughout Maui, Hawaii.