Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys

Personal injury lawsuits represent a great clash of interests: You (the plaintiff) want fair compensation for the injuries that you have suffered through no fault of your own. On the other hand, the insurance company representing the defendant (the person you claim harmed you) wants to protect their financial interests and pay you as little as possible. Insurance companies are in the business of protecting their bottom line, and they may use all kinds of tactics (even underhanded ones) to minimize your award.

Your job (with the help of your accident injury attorney) is to build a strong, evidence-based case so that you can receive the full compensation that you are entitled to by law.

Will Medical Treatment Increase my Personal Injury Settlement

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Is Settlement the Best Option? Or Should I go to Trial?

Only you can answer this question, but you should know that about 95% of all civil cases (the umbrella that personal injury cases fall under) are resolved out of court through settlements.

A settlement is a resolution reached through negotiations. A settlement is a sure thing. You will agree to receive a certain amount of money from the defendant instead of proceeding to a trial. If you forfeit the settlement and go to trial, you could potentially make more money, but you could also lose the case and not receive any personal injury compensation at all.

As part of a settlement, you and your accident lawyer can go back and forth with the defendant’s representative with the goal to reach an offer that is acceptable to both parties. In a trial, you will be dependent on the judge’s or jury’s decision.

Given the risks of a trial, you can see why most plaintiffs decide to settle out of court.

What Affects Compensation for Settlements?

The leading factors in determining compensation for your personal injuries include:

  • Certainty of liability (how clear is it that the defendant was liable for your injuries?)
  • Severity of your injuries
  • How much your injuries affect your daily life
  • Medical treatment for your injuries (cost and duration)
  • Emotional and psychological damage from these injuries

Why Medical Treatment Matters

Medical treatment for a personal injury takes time. Because of that, some plaintiffs will not follow through with their medical treatment. They may miss appointments with their doctor or fail to get recommended therapies. This is a surefire way to minimize your settlement offer.

Because so many of the decisions determining your settlement are made by your medical provider, we recommend prioritizing all aspects of your medical care. Being an engaged and compliant patient is not just good for your health, it’s key to getting the full compensation you’re entitled to for your personal injury case.

What Types of Treatment Increase my Personal Injury Award?

Generally, all medical treatments you receive should augment your award. This is because of something called “subrogation” where the defendant reimburses you for costs related to the injury accident (such as medical bills and lost wages).

However, as the defendant’s insurance company devises a settlement offer, they will use a complex formula that involves assigning multipliers to certain types of treatment. This is where they multiply medical damages (such as medical treatments) by a number between 1 and 5 to calculate the degree of your pain and suffering.

Different types of medical care are given different multipliers. Here are some factors that insurance companies use to determine multipliers:

  • Diagnosis: A doctor will often make a diagnosis quickly, in which case the diagnosis visits and treatment visits will be lumped together by the insurance adjuster.

    But sometimes, a doctor will run a lot of diagnostic tests (x-rays, CT scans, MRIs), etc., only to find out that the injury won’t require much treatment. If that’s the case, the diagnostic visits may be given a lower multiplier because they didn’t have a significant bearing on the pain and suffering.

  • Medical doctors and facilities: In general, medical doctors, hospitals, and bona fide medical clinics are king when it comes to calculating pain and suffering. No matter how high the bill, if it is from a medical provider, it will command higher multipliers than bills from alternative providers such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, etc.

    This can be frustrating if you receive relief from these alternative providers, but it’s very hard to change long-standing trends in the insurance industry.

    In general, if you want more compensation for treatment, it is best to make sure that there is a doctor’s prescription for it. For example, you would probably have a much better chance of getting full reimbursement for physical therapy prescribed by your doctor and carried out in a medical clinic than for chiropractic care you sought out on your own.

  • Duration: You might assume that if your injury requires treatment over a long period, it will be correlated with greater pain and suffering and command a higher settlement. Often, this is true, but keep in mind that insurance adjusters are suspicious of therapies that drag on long-term. That’s why they may offer high compensation for ongoing doctor visits (given the bias toward M.D.s) but lower compensation for ongoing physical therapy or chiropractic treatment. They may argue that the length of your therapy is more a result of the chiropractor or therapist wanting more money than your injury being serious.

What Can You do to Maximize Your Personal Injury Settlement?

Whether you were injured in a car or pedestrian accident, from a dog bite, from slipping or falling, or in a workplace incident, you can take steps to maximize your personal injury settlement.

  • Photograph your injuries. Get clear pictures of your injuries as close to the time of the accident as possible. Make sure to get pictures from different angles, capturing the full scope of your injuries.
  • Document your injury accident and resulting pain and suffering. Memories fade with time. Even though you may think you’ll never forget your injury–how it looked and felt–you’d be surprised at how time can blur the details. Write down all of the details of your accident, including the date, time, and location. Describe in detail how the injury happened and how it affected you.

    You should also write down the details of your treatment and how your injury improves or worsens over time. You can use the 0-10 medical pain scale that you often see at the doctor’s office to quantify your pain and how it changes over time.

  • Keep all medical records and receipts. Make sure you have access to copies of your medical records (from your primary care provider and specialists), to include test results, prescriptions, treatment plans, referrals, etc. Keep your receipts as well, showing any copays, prescription fees, etc. This vital evidence helps build a strong case for your pain and suffering and your financial losses.
  • Take your medical care seriously. See a doctor directly after an injury accident (even if you aren’t in immediate pain). A physician can often discover developing injuries before you notice them and tell you how to keep them from getting worse. You should also attend all follow-up appointments, take all recommended medications, pursue all recommended therapies, etc.

    If you don’t take your care seriously, you could give the impression that your injuries aren’t so bad after all. And beyond that, treatment provides strong evidence about the extent of your injury. For example, if your doctor prescribes several months of physical therapy, it is clear that you are dealing with a significant injury and should be compensated accordingly.

  • Hire an experienced accident lawyer. You may be new to the tactics of Big Insurance, but a good lawyer won’t be. They will see through these tactics and defend your interests at every turn.

    Try to find an attorney who has experience with your specific type of case and/or injury, whether that be an auto accident attorney, a workers’ compensation attorney, or a TBI (traumatic brain injury) attorney. Lean on your attorney’s expertise to build a strong, fact-based case and determine whether or not a settlement offer is fair.