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How Do Insurance Companies Value a Case?


Bill KuziaraAs an attorney, I worked for an insurance company from 1978-1981 evaluating personal injury cases. The inner workings of insurance companies have changed drastically with computer modeling for average payouts for certain kinds of injuries. It is important for your attorney to know what ICD-9 codes to get entered relative to your case so the computer program gives you a higher benefit. However, because we have a jury system, in civil cases the insurance companies must factor in the human element. Is the injured person likeable? Do they exaggerate or over treat? Are their doctors credible? Do their co-workers like them? Is the defendant likeable, or drinking at the time of the accident? Does the defendant readily admit fault or try to blame someone else? All these factors and more can bring about huge swings in jury verdicts.

The insurance companies evaluate cases on the imaginary 12 person jury. How is the case going to play out? If the risk for a high verdict is high, insurance companies pay more to settle. If the risk for a high verdict is low, then they make a low offer.

The job of your attorney is to guide you through the process and present your case in the most favorable light for you. Ninety-seven percent of all cases are settled. They are settled using objective factors, i.e., medical bills, injuries, lost wages, permanent injury, etc. They are also settled using subjective factors such as likeability, witnesses, risk analysis, truthfulness and skillful avoidance of traps or common pitfalls, lying and greed. Your attorney needs to know how to combine the best objective factors with your personality to develop a good story of your injury to get the highest value. A good story backed with facts without emotional override, still gets good value.

At the Law Offices of Bill T. Kuziara, we understand the way insurance companies work, and we can help you get the settlement you deserve. Feel free to contact us at (707) 546-1040 for assistance and legal advice.


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