From My Desk: Child Injury Case Myths
“Three times medicals bills is a ‘fair’ offer for my child’s injury”
One of the more common myths I hear from people is that you should get three times the medical bills to settle a case. The belief is that insurance companies routinely pay to settle cases and that a formula is used to calculate damages. While I have no doubt that some insurance companies use complex formulas to determine offers, I don’t subscribe to that method of evaluating a case. If a formula isn’t used, though, how does an experienced child injury attorney figure out how much your child’s case is worth?
This is definitely an area where it is crucial to have a lawyer on your side when dealing with the insurance company. Let’s start by taking a quick look at the three types of harms and losses (“damages”): economic, pain and suffering, and disability (also known as “loss of normal life”).
Economic: These are relatively straight-forward numbers. They include medical bills and out-of-pocket costs for items like wheelchairs, retrofitting your home or vehicle, and in-home care. However, hiring an experienced injury lawyer will ensure that all of your child’s medical bills – past, present, and future – are included in this tally.
Pain and Suffering: This type of damage is pretty much how it sounds; it involves the pain, suffering, and anguish your child endures as a result of the injury. This is difficult to evaluate in financial terms, but a good child injury attorney will have a sense of the value based on experience and researching recent, local settlements and jury verdicts.
Disability: Like pain and suffering, this type of loss is difficult to determine – and absolutely can’t be calculated by plugging numbers into a formula. Disability deals with the actual, day-to-day impact of your child’s injury. It could be a question of how long your child was stuck inside while she was laid up with a cast. But the devastating impact for a child who suffers a traumatic brain injury is literally life-changing.
Evaluating fair compensation for your child’s injury isn’t something that a computer can determine after some insurance adjuster or inexperienced child lawyer plugs some numbers into the system. Simply multiplying past medical bills by some magic number isn’t the way to help you or your child.
If your child has been injured or worse, please contact me right away.
Ken Levinson is a Chicago-based child injury attorney and child safety advocate. If your child has been injured or worse, please call Ken Levinson at Joseph, Lichtenstein & Levinson at 312-346-9270 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Although based in Chicago, Ken works on child injury cases across the country.