How Much Should I Settle for a Broken Leg After a Car Accident in Massachusetts?
In many cases, settlements are the best way to handle a car accident case. Settling a broken leg case can get you the benefits you need quickly and let you get back to your life. However, settlements – especially under Massachusetts’ no-fault rules – might not get you all you deserve. How do you know how much to settle for?
The amount you should settle for for a broken leg case after a car accident is difficult to tell without examining your case. In many insurance claims, the damages for a broken leg could leave out damages for pain and suffering, making your settlement too low to cover your needs. Never settle a car accident case without having a lawyer review your claim.
For help with your case, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan’s Massachusetts car accident attorneys today at (617) 925-6407. We offer free case reviews to get you started.
Problems with Settling with No-Fault Insurance in Massachusetts
“Settlements” are agreements to stop pursuing a case in exchange for having the damages paid. When you file an insurance claim and accept the payments, this functions as a settlement. However, insurance rules in Massachusetts put restrictions on what you can claim that might make settling at this stage an issue.
Massachusetts is a no-fault state for insurance claims. This means that your own insurance company will pay for your injuries after a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. The medical expenses for X-rays, appointments with an orthopedist, casts, walking boots, crutches, etc., can be expensive for a broken leg. In many cases, these damages could be low enough to be covered by the minimum $8,000 personal injury protection (PIP) in Massachusetts. If you paid for higher PIP limits, your insurance might cover higher damages.
The problem with settling your claim is that there may be additional damages that go unclaimed as part of your injury case. For instance, damages for your vehicle damage caused by another driver should be paid by them instead of your own insurance in some cases. Additionally, you could be missing out on damages because you have to pay a deductible. Further, pain and suffering damages aren’t typically included in your insurance claim.
Suing for Pain and Suffering for a Broken Leg in a Massachusetts Car Accident
To get pain and suffering damages after a car accident, you may need to file a lawsuit in court against the driver who hit you. Generally, settling with your own insurance company won’t pay these damages. However, there are limits when filing a lawsuit as well that you should consult with a Somerville car accident lawyer about.
For a driver to be able to sue for pain and suffering damages in Massachusetts, their injuries have to meet a certain threshold. If your injuries are worth less than $2,000, you cannot sue for pain and suffering. Many broken leg injuries will typically meet this limit, so just settling with your insurance company can leave these damages unclaimed. Talk to an attorney about moving on to a lawsuit – and note that filing a lawsuit doesn’t prevent you from settling later in the process.
Settling in Court for a Broken Leg Car Accident Claim
Once your case progresses to court, you will be able to claim damages that your insurance company did not cover. These damages are claimed directly against the at-fault driver instead of against your insurance company. However, their insurance company can often pay these damages as part of the terms of their policy. Most cases ultimately settle, so starting your claim in court does not necessarily prevent a settlement – but is it important to understand how much to settle for.
Settlements in court for a broken leg in a car accident vary widely depending on many factors. First, you must understand what damages you can include in the claim to begin with, then you must calculate how much they are worth based on your specific case. This often requires assembling medical bills, pay stubs, financial records, and auto repair bills just to start. If your broken leg creates additional costs for you – such as the need for alternative transportation, childcare, help with household chores, etc. – your damages could include hard-to-calculate damages. Our Boston car accident injury lawyers can help you find and calculate all of these damages.
Pain and Suffering
Second, pain and suffering damages need to be calculated. Determining how much an injury hurts a particular individual and how much suffering they face is a very subjective issue.
Courts often take a shortcut by either assigning a daily value (per diem value) to the pain and suffering or picking a modifier to apply to your overall damages. with the per diem method, courts can set a daily value for your pain (usually based off your normal daily wages) and adjust this up or down depending on the severity of your pain and suffering. with a multiplier, they will pick a number, usually between 1.5 and 5, to multiply your total damages by. Mild to moderate injuries will have a lower multiplier and result in additional damages at a low value, compared to the high multipliers used in very severe cases such as brain injury or spinal cord injury cases.
Once you know how much your case should be worth, you can determine whether settling is appropriate. Your Massachusetts car accident attorneys can help you decide whether to settle or pursue damages at trial, but the choice is ultimately yours.
If the facts are strongly on your side, it can convince the defendant and their insurance company to settle for your full damages (or close to that value). Weaker cases might settle lower. Ultimately, both sides save the time and expense of trial by settling, which can also affect the ultimate settlement amount. Always work with a Cambridge car accident attorney on negotiation and settlement strategies.
Call Our Massachusetts Car Accident Attorneys Today
If you suffered a broken leg in a car accident in Massachusetts, never settle until you speak with an injury attorney. The Wakefield car accident injury lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan offer free case reviews. Call today at (617) 925-6407.