Any cervical injury sustained during a car crash should be considered as grounds for a claim settlement with negligent parties. Victims of cervical injuries can pursue legal claims with the assistance of an attorney. If liability is clearly in the hands of another driver, victims and their legal counsel may be faced with negotiating a claims settlement with the other driver’s insurance claims adjustor.
Determining the Extent of Damages in Cervical Injury Settlements
Immediately following a cervical injury, and potentially well into the near future, the extent of an injury in a victim will not be readily apparent. Determining the extents of injuries, as well as the associated value of the damages, is not easy. With legal counsel and advice from medical professionals, victims and their loved ones can estimate the value of damages sustained by a victim, which should correspond with a settlement figure. These damages may include all or some of the following items, if applicable, including:
- Medical costs, including emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, post-acute medical treatments, short and long term rehabilitation, and continued medical care and support, which may be lifelong in the case of cervical injuries causing permanent disability.
- Exterior costs associated with receiving medical treatments, including transportation and other costs for caregivers of victims.
- Lost income earning capacity resultant from injuries sustained, which are calculated based on previous earning capacity and other factors.
- Pain, suffering, mental anguish, and other non-economic factors, which will seek to compensate victims for their losses not readily quantified by a dollar amount. These considerations will also include factors such as diminished quality of life, loss of mobility, disfigurement, and other important factors.
- If warranted and applicable, punitive damages as well in cases of wanton, criminal, or reckless negligence in an automobile causing cervical injuries in a victim
Role of Damages in Settlement Claims
When negotiating a settlement claim for cervical injuries, victims and their legal counsel need to estimate the amount of both current and future damages expected from a given accident injury. In many cases of cervical injuries, the injuries sustained presented potentially permanent disability and chronic medical needs. For this reason, estimating a fair and equitable settlement for damages sustained is often difficult. Not only does an attorney need to calculate future medical costs, which may not prove entirely clear initially, but also, damages such as non-economic losses are also not readily determined either. For this reason, legal counsel will often rely on a couple of common factors used to determine an equitable settlement amount, which will include:
- Any documentation regarding economic damages currently available.
- Recommendations and statements of medical professionals regarding the medical needs of victims in the future, which may give reasonable grounds for estimates on both economic and non-economic damages.
- Previous precedents in cases similar to that of the victim, including the final figures used to compensate for given settlement claims.
- Policy and other insurance regulatory factors, which may limit one’s ability to collect settlement claims past a given amount.
The Process of Cervical Injury Settlements
Depending on the specifics of a given accident injury, as well as the insurance company liable for damage claims, victims may be afforded claims payment on an interim basis, or as the medical bills arrive. However, in cases involving potentially lifelong injuries and complications, insurance companies seek to mitigate their losses and increase efficiency by settling claims as soon as feasibly possible.
The reasoning behind this stems from the fact that the overwhelming majority of settlement offers are contingent on victim surrendering their rights to future claims. In essence, one lump sum payment is the only amount of compensation available to victims. In instances such as cervical injuries, this may prove not in the favor of a victim, as the extent and true costs associated with their injuries cannot be fully accounted for swiftly following an accident. For this reason, legal counsel and victims often reject initial settlement offers made by insurance claims adjusters until they are in a more leveraged and knowledgeable position.
Routinely, once an accurate depiction of total damages sustained by a victim are apparent, legal counsel for the victim will forward what is known as a demand letter, which states requests for compensation alongside documentation supporting these claims. The time required to first compile a demand letter, as well as receive a response to a demand letter is highly variable, dependent on factors such as the complexity of a claims case, as well as other considerations. If a victim does not find the response to the demand letter favorable, or other terms of a given settlement counter offer are not in their best interests, legal counsel will then proceed to file a suit formally on behalf of their client for the damage claims noted in the demand letter.
Getting Legal Help
Given the extent of medical injury associated most often with cervical injuries, victims will prove unable to represent their interests very easily in a claims settlement case. Having an attorney provide the requisite legal assistance is extremely important.