A lawsuit for a shoulder injury can range in value. In order to determine a settlement value of a claim, an insurance company will estimate on the lower end of what they think a jury in Kansas or Missouri will award. If you, or your lawyer, submit a demand to an insurance company, you are also estimating what you think a jury would award, usually this estimate is higher than the estimate of the insurance company.
For a shoulder injury that is expected to heal quickly, the value of a claim may be several hundred dollars in pain and suffering. Kansas law requires that injured people reach $2,000 in medical bills before you become eligible for a claim for pain and suffering. Missouri law does not have the same $2,000 threshold requirement.
For a more serious shoulder injury, the value of a claim or lawsuit could be in the tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Insurance company executives say that “medical bills and the quality treatment are the main value drivers for a personal injury lawsuit.” If your medical bills include a major surgery, or a major surgery has been recommended to you, the value of your claim may increase substantially. Another major value driver is the loss of earning capacity.
What information will an adjuster request for a shoulder injury claim?
An adjuster will ask for sufficient documentation when you are presenting a shoulder injury claim. The adjuster usually requires certain evidence before they are willing to make an offer, including: medical bills, medical records, proof of lost wages (can be shown using tax returns, past bank statements, testimony of a supervisor, check stubs).
If your medical records indicate that you have had prior symptoms or complaints about the body part that you are claiming was injured, an adjuster may request that you provide a complete history of all medical records of treatment you’ve received for that condition. When this happens, a doctor or other health professional may be required to offer an opinion on whether the symptoms or complaints are related to the accident.
How closely will an insurance adjuster review my medical records?
The best insurance adjusters will review your medical records with a magnifying glass. Adjusters typically review every encounter you have with health providers, and they look to see if any records are missing. If there is anything in your medical records that suggest that you may have had similar symptoms prior to your accident, the adjuster will wait to respond to a demand. Experienced adjusters know that they can save the insurance company money if they can track down a medical record that indicates you may be malingering, or a record that shows you’ve had the same problem prior to an accident.
How does an adjuster determine the value of a shoulder injury claim?
In each injury case, the adjuster’s process for determining the value of a case is the same. The adjuster considers two main factors: (1) what are your chances of winning if the case proceeds to trial, taking into consideration your injury and the liability of the claim; and (2) what amount of damages would a jury be likely to award? If the insurance company thinks that you may have a multi-million dollar case if you were to win, but doesn’t think that you are likely to win, the insurance company will offer a low amount to try and get you to settle. The adjuster will also consider the total amount of damages that a jury might award. Juries typically make a decision on two types of damages: economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc..) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
Juries in Kansas and Missouri are both conservative. Past jury verdicts are a good place to look for what a jury may award for a particular type of injury. An injury lawyer is also likely to have insight on the value of a claim based on their prior experience.