Please note, for privacy reasons, the settlements and case results set forth below contain general information only. Settlements can vary greatly from one claim to another for a variety of reasons. The settlement amounts referenced below were for bodily injuries only and do not include vehicle repairs which were resolved separately. In regard to automobile accidents, there are many important factors that can impact the dollar amount of settlements, to include the following:
1. The severity of the impact. Airbag deployment?
2. The dollar value of the automobile repairs.
3. The nature and extent of injuries sustained.
4. Whether the claimant required an ambulance or ER visit.
5. Whether prompt medical attention was sought without lengthy treatment gaps.
6. Whether an abnormal x-ray or MRI scan is involved
7. Whether cuts, lacerations, broken bones, or torn ligaments are involved.
8. Whether surgery is involved.
9. The amount of medical bills and whether they are reasonable and necessary.
10. Whether the claimant has suffered similar injuries in the past or made prior claims. Pre-existing conditions?
11. How well lost wages are documented.
12. The credibility of the treating doctor, the claimant, and the Defendant.
13. Whether liability is admitted or contested. Is comparative fault an issue?
14. The name of the insurance company we are dealing with and the specific adjuster working the claim.
15. Whether the liability insurance policy is for an individual or for a business.
16. The county where the accident happened and whether a lawsuit has been filed. State court or federal court?
16. The skill and reputation of the attorney, paralegal, or legal assistant who is working your claim. At my office, I will always handle your claim.
This list is not an exclusive list, as other factors might apply. For these reasons, no two settlements are ever exactly the same and results will always vary. The following settlements are examples only and another person's claim might be worth more money or less money than these examples.
SETTLEMENT #1: Claimant was traveling South when the Defendant, traveling West, failed to stop for a stop sign violating Claimant's right of way and causing Claimant to T-bone the Defendant. Air bag deployment, total loss vehicle, ambulance required, ER visit, bruising and laceration. Minimal follow up care except for a CT scan. This bodily injury claim settled for $23,170.00.
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY HEARING: Claimant was 30 to 40 years old (a "younger" individual by SSA's definition) who alleged one or more mental disorders. He / she had a high school education and past work in the fast food industry which was "light" exertional level and "unskilled". The vocational expert found that Claimant could not return to his / her past work (Step 4). The issue then broadened (Step 5) to become whether the Claimant could perform any other work in the national economy based upon age, education, past work experience, and residual functional capacity. The Judge, based upon testimony from the vocational expert, found that no other jobs existed in the national economy that Claimant could perform, therefore, the Judge entered a finding of "disabled" and Claimant was awarded benefits.
SETTLEMENT #2: Claimant was traveling East on a four lane highway with two lanes going East and two lanes going West without a center median or divider. It was raining. The Defendant was driving West towards Claimant with his cruise control set which is something that should never be done in the rain or on wet surfaces. As he approached Claimant, he started up a small hill / incline. When his speed naturally slowed due to gravity, his cruise control caused his engine to accelerate to re-gain the speed lost due to the incline. His wheels started to spin and more speed was lost causing the cruise control to further increase power to the wheels. This caused his vehicle to lose control, cross the center line, and strike Claimant in the drivers door as he / she attempted to steer right. Claimant suffered a 10 to 15 cm laceration about the left knee which required about 20 staples to close. Claimant also suffered significant bruising. He / she was non-weight bearing for some time and lost time from work. Medical treatment included an ambulance, ER visit, orthopedic follow-up, and physical therapy. This bodily injury claim settled for $50,000.00.
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY HEARING - After a hearing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mr. Walker was approved for disability benefits. I actually tried this claim twice. The first time we received an "Unfavorable" decision which means we were denied benefits. I appealed to the Appeals Council in Falls Church, Virginia, arguing the decision should be reversed. The Appeals Council agreed with me and remanded the matter back to Tulsa for a new hearing. At this hearing, Claimant testified that he had non-Hodgkins Lymphona, in remission, and that he was required to undergo Gamma Globulin treatments each month to keep his lgG levels properly elevated. He has an IV port that he lives with for this treatment. He testified that after these treatments, he is physically drained for the following two or three days and cannot leave the house. Our argument was that he would miss approximately 36 days of work per year due to these treatments. The vocational expert testified that with this type of absenteeism, he would be unemployable. Based upon the vocational expert's testimony, the cancer doctor's records, and testimony from my client, the judge found Claimant disabled and granted benefits.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION HEARING: Claimant injured his / her back bending and lifting. Initially, it was thought that Claimant had only strained his / her back, however, physical therapy and muscle relaxers did not solve the problem. MRI testing discovered a herniated disk in the lumbar spine. Injections were tried which only provided short lived relief. He / she then underwent one or more surgeries. The insurance company made an offer to settle, however, they didn't want to pay our price, therefore, the matter was tried to a judge who awarded slightly in excess of $50,000.00 plus continuing medical maintenance for prescription medications and doctors visits. The Judge's award exceeded the insurance company's offer and, as added benefits, Claimant will 1) continue to receive medications and doctor's visits for free, and 2) will have the right to petition the Court to re-open the claim within the next three years should he / she suffer a change of condition for the worse. Had the claim been settled outside of court, the case would've been closed out for good, waiving continuing medical maintenance and giving up the right to re-open.
Stan Bearden Law Firm