Petrarca and Petrarca Law Offices

Maximize your compensation from a personal injury claim

It doesn’t matter if you were injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or anything in between. You deserve the maximum compensation for your personal injury settlement. But how do you determine the amount to ask for, and what should you do to increase your potential compensation? That’s what we’re here to discuss.

Below, learn more about how personal injury claims are valued and get insight on building a successful case, courtesy of a RI personal injury lawyer.

How much should I ask for in a personal injury settlement?

There are three different types of damages to consider when negotiating a personal injury settlement, which are:

  • Medical damages. This includes expenses like doctor and hospital visits, medical procedures, tests, medications, or other medical bills.
  • Special Damages. This covers the cost of any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred due to your injury, such as lost wages or damaged property.
  • General damages. Also called “pain and suffering,” these damages include the more abstract, emotional impact of your injuries, such as a loss of quality of life.

What is the formula for calculating personal injury settlements?

Since every personal injury claim is unique, there isn’t a single standard formula for determining a settlement value. However, some lawyers may suggest that you start by adding together your medical and special damages. Then, multiply that amount by 1.5 to 5 to determine your general damages.

For instance, if you have $10,000 in medical and special damages, you may decide to multiply that amount by 2 to include compensation for your pain and suffering. This means you’d ask for a total settlement of $20,000.

Does physical therapy increase your potential settlement?

Yes! If your doctor determines that you need physical therapy for your injuries, you can include the cost in your medical damages. Learn more about valuing a personal injury claim on our blog.

Is there a maximum compensation amount for personal injuries?

Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t cap damages for injury cases. However, most insurance policies have set payout limits. So, the maximum amount can depend on whether you file a civil suit against an individual, or file a claim with an insurance company.

Personal injury settlement timeline

What should you consider when negotiating a personal injury settlement? How to increase your settlement value

Once you’ve determined the amount of money you’d like to pursue, you’ll need to optimize your negotiation strategy. Keep the following factors in mind to maximize your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit or settlement.

1.   Include everything in your claim

Remember to include all of your potential damages, not just the readily apparent ones. For instance, you may have used sick or vacation days to visit the doctor or purchased medical supplies out of pocket, like arm braces or bandages. Talk things over with your personal injury attorney to ensure your claim isn’t missing any potential damages.

2. Include documented evidence

Make sure to include as much evidence in your claim as possible. For example, pictures of your injuries or statements from eyewitnesses. The more evidence you can include, the more difficult it will be for a claim’s adjustor to minimize your payout. So, make sure you gather as much as possible while you’re still at the accident scene.

3. Seek medical attention ASAP

If you put off seeking medical attention for your injuries, the insurance company may use this to “prove” that your injuries aren’t all that serious. Always listen to the first responder’s advice at the scene and don’t refuse treatment.

4.  File in a timely manner

Every state has a time limit for personal injury cases. In Rhode Island, that time limit is three years after the date of the incident. Trying to file outside of the window will likely lead to the dismissal of your claim. So, it’s crucial to start the process as soon as you can. Learn more about the Rhode Island statute of limitations on our blog.

5. Stay off social media

While you’re in the middle of negotiations, it’s crucial not to post anything that could be taken out of context. If your social media activity seems to conflict with your claim, the insurance company can use it against you.

For example, perhaps you went on a quick nature walk and snapped a photo, but the pain from your injuries forced you to return early. Even though your injury impacted your outing, the insurance company may use a picture of you smiling on a hiking trail as evidence that you aren’t injured at all. For that reason, it’s best to limit your social media activity or take a hiatus until your claim is settled.

6.  Don’t accept any low offers

You might feel intimidated or discouraged if your insurance company initially responds with a much lower settlement offer than you’d hoped for. But don’t let them pressure you into accepting less than your claim is truly worth.

If you feel confident that your claim is reasonable and includes all your medical, special, and general damages, Hold your ground. You might choose to reply with a counteroffer or reject the offer entirely. Check out our blog on negotiating with insurance companies to learn more details.

7. Consult with an RI personal injury attorney

Of course, fighting a large insurance company on your own can be daunting. So, to maximize your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit, it’s crucial to have a dedicated RI personal injury lawyer, like those at Petrarca Law.

We’ll use our experience to gather key information and evidence and present your case in the best possible light, so you’ll have the best chance of success. We won’t leave anything on the table, so you can walk away with the settlement you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation with the best lawyers in Rhode Island.