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How Insurance Companies Evaluate the Value of a Claim

Law Office of Jason Skala, LLC Sept. 28, 2023

In 2021, statistics from the Municipality of Anchorage Annual Traffic Report indicate that there were about 3,430 total traffic crashes in Anchorage, Alaska. Being involved in a traffic collision is a traumatizing experience, and -- after an accident or personal injury -- filing an injury claim to pursue damages can feel overwhelming. This is especially true when dealing with insurance providers and their various factors – including the nature of your injuries, damages suffered, and your actions – when determining the value of your claims. 

At the Law Office of Jason Skala, LLC, I proudly give legal guidance and skilled representation to clients in their injury claims. As a seasoned Alaska personal injury attorney, I can investigate your case and fully explain how the insurance carrier determines the value of a claim. Also, I will advocate for your best interests and help you seek fair financial compensation to cover your injuries, damages, and losses. My firm proudly serves clients across Anchorage, Kotzebue, Bethel, and Barrow (Utqiagvik), Alaska. 

Not all Claims Are Equal

As previously mentioned, seeking compensation after an accident or personal injury requires filing an insurance claim. However, all claims are not equal and may depend on the surrounding circumstances of your personal situation. Generally, the insurer will assess your claims' value depending on your likelihood of achieving a favorable verdict if you sue them. Also, the insurance provider will consider the settlement amount that the judge or jury may award to you. 

For example, if you do not get adequate medical help or don't follow through with the recommended treatment plan, the insurance provider might use this against you during negotiations or to devalue your claims. Likewise, a plaintiff without an underlying medical issue will have a higher claims value compared with someone with a pre-existing medical condition. The insurer may argue that your injury was a result of your pre-existing medical condition and not the accident alone. 

Factors That May Be Considered

The insurance provider may consider the following factors to evaluate or determine the value of your injury claim: 

  • The overall costs of medical treatments, including therapy, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and other out-of-pocket expenses due to the accident or injury. 

  • The period you were unable to work as a result of your injuries. 

  • The cost to fix or replace your damaged vehicle or property. 

  • Whether you are likely to attain full recovery. 

  • Whether you suffered emotional distress or mental anguish due to the incident. 

  • How the injury has affected your ability to work or earn a living? 

  • The evidence that is available to support or establish your claims. 

  • The strength of your legal arguments. 

  • How the injury has disrupted your day-to-day life. 

  • Your recovery timeline. 

If you or someone close to you have suffered a negligent accident or personal injury, you need to get in touch with a dedicated personal injury lawyer right away. Your attorney can assess every aspect of your case, collect vital evidence and documentation, and help you seek the damages you may be entitled to. 

Your Actions Factor In

The events that caused the accident and the next steps you took – or didn't take – after the injury can hugely affect the outcome of your claims. 

Pure Comparative Negligence in Alaska 

Also, how your actions contributed to the injury or accident can affect the amount of damages available to you. Alaska operates using the "pure comparative negligence" principle. Under the rule, you may be entitled to pursue fair compensation, irrespective of your contribution to the accident or injury. However, your settlement amount will be reduced by your percentage of fault. 

Failure to Mitigate Damages 

However, if you didn’t take the required steps to mitigate damages or reduce complications, this may affect your financial compensation. For instance, if you didn't receive prompt medical treatments, document your injuries, or follow your recommended treatment program, the insurer might undervalue or completely deny your claims. 

Steps You Can Take to Maximize Compensation

Here are some useful tips to help increase the value of your claims and maximize your settlement award: 

  • Retain a seasoned attorney to help file your claims and handle negotiations with the insurance. 

  • Get immediate medical attention from an experienced physician. 

  • Properly document all of your injuries, medical treatments, health records, and hospital visits. 

  • Gather relevant information, evidence, and documentation, including police reports, witness testimonies, and accident scene photos. 

  • Never accept the first settlement offer from the insurer. It is usually absurd and won't cover all your damages. 

  • Attain maximum medical improvement (MMI) or full recovery before evaluating your claims or negotiating a settlement. 

  • Consider the cost of ongoing and future medical treatments and damages. 

  • Do not post on social media or discuss your claims with anyone else, except your attorney. 

  • File your insurance claims as soon as you can and within the specified statute of limitations. 

A knowledgeable attorney can help file your injury claims, fight vigorously for your legal rights, and seek the maximum available financial compensation. 

Understand Your Options

Knowing how insurers estimate your claim's value is imperative to seek the maximum possible damages. With over 20 years of experience, I have successfully recovered millions of dollars in verdicts, damages, and settlements for my clients. Using my broad knowledge, I can walk you through the complex injury claims process, help maximize your case value, and pursue the financial justice you deserve. 

Contact me at the Law Office of Jason Skala, LLC, today to schedule a simple case evaluation with a dedicated personal injury attorney. I have the resources and knowledge you need to evaluate your claims and navigate crucial decisions in your personal injury case. My firm proudly serves clients across Anchorage, Kotzebue, Bethel, and Barrow (Utqiagvik), Alaska.