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Jim Sellers, Attorney At Law

40+ Years of experience in Personal Injury Law in both Washington and Oregon

Factors That Affect the Value of Your Claim

1. The affect on your ability to earn living.  This means primarily two things.  First, it may mean that you cannot work for you employer immediately following the collision.  Second it can mean that your capacity to earn a living has been impaired in the future.  Your claim value is increased by the amount of these losses.

2. Your Treatment expense.  You can recover as damages the amount that it cost to treat your injuries from the collision.

3. Your Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.  These are called non-economic damages and they are intangible.  However, these are usually the most valuable part of your claim.


4. The loss of your society and companionship to your spouse.  This is a derivativeclaim  in favor of your spouse.  It is derivative of your claim.  This means the loss of services that you provide to your marital community.  It also means the loss of your companionship to your spouse.

5. Services that you have to hire.  If you have to hire a house keeper, someone to do the landscaping, or similar services because you can’t perform the services yourself due to your injuries, you are entitled to make a claim for what this costs you.

6. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits.The damages on your claim may total a million dollars, but if the at-fault party only has $25,000 in liability coverage you are unlikely to recover the full value of your claim.  If people carry really low limits, they generally don’t have much in collectible assets.

7. The amount of your underinsured motorist coverage.If you have a million dollar claim and you have $2,000,000 in UIM benefits on your own policy, there are sufficient funds to recover the full value of your claim. Your UIM coverage merely steps into the shoes of the at-fault parties insurance and your claim is handled as though the at-fault party has as much coverage as you have UIM benefits.

8. Minimal Impact. One would be when there is very little visible damage to your car.  That is a factor that requires special attention to overcome.

9. Gaps or delays in treatment.  These require special attention and affect value depending on the explanation for the delay or gap in care.

10. Delays in seeking attorney representation.  If you are not represented by an attorney for a long period of time, it allows an adjuster to spend a lot of time with you and find out things that you might not even understand the significance of, which can affect the value of the claim.  It is best to seek representation immediately rather than later. You do not save money on attorneys fees by waiting.  And you avoid making mistakes in the handling of the claim if you are represented right away.

11. Prior related injuries.  These can affect the value of the claim to make it more valuable or less valuable, depending on the circumstances of the case.

12. Seeing too many health care providers on a claim.  If you see a lot of doctors or alternative care providers it will decrease the value of the claim and make it hard to settle. This, of course, depends on the injuries.  But you don’t want to change providers or shop around except for good reasons.  This is primarily true on nonsurgical claims.

13. Providers that are not claim friendly.  There are providers who will poison the well on your claim to avoid having to appear as witnesses if a lawsuit if filed.  They do this buy attributing your injuries to events or circumstances other than the vehicle collision.

14. Providers who fail to make referrals that should be made.  These are provider who don’t or primarily do not treat an injury condition and fail to make a referral because it will cost them money, either because of insurance factors or because they you will change providers.



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Auto Accident Attorney