Will Surgery Increase My Settlement?

Will Surgery Increase My Settlement?

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Will Surgery Increase My Settlement?

Surgery isn't something people usually fantasize about, even in situations where it's absolutely necessary. However, when you suffer an injury resulting from someone else's negligence, doctors might recommend surgery. This brings us to the question of whether or not surgery will increase your settlement. 

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Here's why. 

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  • When Can Surgery Increase My Settlement?

    The issue of settlement is always complex when it comes to personal injury. This is because different factors must be considered before reaching a particular settlement.

    Remember, insurance companies won't just flash out huge amounts of money even if their client is clearly at fault for your injury. Instead, they'll try everything they can to blame you for the injury, and if that's impossible, they'll come up with the lowest offer, hoping you'll accept it. 

    This explains why it's always important to work with a personal injury attorney from a reputable injury law firm like Morgan & Morgan - the largest in the United States. 

    Surgery can increase your settlement - there's no doubt about that. Personal injury claims involving surgeries are usually higher than those that don't. That's a fact. 

    Here's a hypothetical example. 

    While driving his car, Andrew stops at a stop sign. However, driving right behind Andrew while using her phone, Sherry fails to stop and hits Andrew's car from the back. 

    Andrew is hospitalized due to the accident, and doctors recommend surgery on his lower back. In such a case, Sherry is clearly at fault, and her insurance company will have to pay for damages caused by the surgery. 

    When the defendant is clearly at fault, it's even more difficult for the insurance claims adjuster to deny the claim. Most cases of drivers being hit from the back and requiring surgery in the process attract higher settlements. 

    The surgery aside, victims of such accidents can also be compensated for both economic and non-economic damages. However, this depends on the nature of their case.

  • Economic and Non-Economic Damages Explained

    Economic damages usually involve situations where money was spent, lost, or needed following an injury. For example, if you failed to go to work due to the injury, you may be eligible for compensation for loss of wages.

    On the other hand, non-economic damages usually involve non-monetary losses such as:

    • emotional distress;
    • inconvenience;
    • pain;
    • suffering;
    • loss of companionship;
    • loss of enjoyment of life;
    • loss of consortium;
    • among others.
  • How Insurance Coverage Determines the Settlement to Expect

    You may be eligible for a higher settlement if the person or entity that caused your injury has liability insurance against such damages. If that's the case, then having surgery could significantly increase the value of your claim.

    Big companies such as Uber, Lyft, Walmart, Doordash, Target, Amazon Flex, among others, usually have bigger liability insurance coverage than most individuals have. 

    Here are some examples to put this into perspective. 

    If you get hit by an Uber driver who was on shift (engaged in a ride) at the time of the accident and you end up requiring surgery, your settlement might significantly increase.

    Similarly, you might be eligible for higher settlement if another driver caused an accident in which you suffered injuries as a passenger in a Lyft or Uber. 

    You may also be eligible for higher compensation if the accident was caused by the negligence of a driver for a big company like Target, Walmart, Home Depot, etc. 

    If a rental car driver with a premium plan caused the accident, you might receive higher compensation. This is because the premium plan usually comes with a bigger coverage for such cases. 

    Unfortunately, the same doesn't apply to most auto insurance companies, especially when providing insurance coverage for personal drivers like you. As a result, the chances are that they'll provide lower liability limits, which reduces the amount of settlement you may be eligible for in case of a car accident caused by the negligence of their insured. 

  • When Do I Need Surgery?

    Your doctor can advise you on whether or not your specific injury requires surgery. For instance, damage to your internal body organs is a condition that normally requires surgery to fix damages caused to internal body organs. 

    After any accident, personal injury attorneys recommend seeking medical attention even if you don't feel any pain or discomfort at that particular moment. This is because some of these internal damages aren't visible until days or weeks later. 

    Seeking urgent medical attention helps determine the extent of the injury to avoid serious consequences. Additionally, the medical records come in handy during personal injury claims. Without such records, the insurance company could easily claim that you didn't suffer any injury from the accident if it all existed. 

    If the medical examination concludes that you need surgery, it increases your chances of receiving a higher settlement than when you don't need surgery. 

    However, it's also important to remember that lying about your claim or the extent of injury to obtain a higher settlement is considered insurance fraud. When the other party finds out that you're lying, they may deny the entire case, and you'll have difficulty earning the jury's trust if the claim goes to court.

    Secondly, surgery comes with some risks. If not done properly, you may develop serious medical complications such as infections or even death. 

  • Examples of Situations Where Surgery Won't Increase Your Settlement

    Personal injury cases are never the same. Even when the claim seems pretty straightforward, one twist of events is enough to swing the case partly or entirely in favor of the defendant. Here are some good examples. 

    Determining the Exact Cause of Surgery 

    As mentioned earlier, the job of an insurance claims adjuster is to reduce your settlement amount, even when their client is at fault. They'll do everything to reduce what you're entitled to as compensation even if you needed surgery after the accident. 

    Using the example of Andrew and Sherry above, let's look at the car accident from a different perspective.

    • Andrew stops at the stop sign.
    • Sherry is driving behind Andrew, fails to stop, and hits his car from behind. 
    • The police report shows that Sherry was on her phone when she hit Andrew, whose car had stopped at the stop sign at the time of the accident. 
    • Andrew is admitted to the hospital, and his doctor recommends surgery. 

    From the example above, it's clear that Sherry was at fault for distracted driving, which caused the accident. Her insurance company is obviously expected to compensate Andrew, but not without a fight.

    Here's why.

    Suppose the insurance claims adjuster discovers that Andrew had a pre-existing problem that required surgery for years. In that case, the adjuster might claim that the accident wasn't the only reason the claimant needed surgery. 

    Although the insurance company will still have to pay Andrew, this new discovery could reduce the settlement amount. 

    This also explains why it's essential to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. 

    Unnecessary Surgery Won't Increase Your Settlement 

    Going for surgery that a doctor doesn't recommend won't increase your settlement during a personal injury claim hearing. On the contrary, the defendant could raise this issue to the jury or your attorney, citing insurance fraud. 

    The decision to opt for surgery shouldn't be based on your personal opinion. The jury or insurer will always believe a professional doctor in such a situation. So if your doctor doesn't recommend surgery, chances are you don't need it. 

    Cost of Surgery Exceeds the Defendant's Insurance Coverage

    Using the hypothetical case of Sherry and Andrew as an example, let's assume that Sherry's insurance coverage only offers a limited liability coverage of $50,000. This money is meant to be spent on the medical bills of the other party involved in the accident due to Sherry's negligence.

    However, if Andrew's surgery cost is $100,000, Sherry's insurance company will only pay $50,000, which is the maximum amount covered under her specific plan. And, as a result, Andrew will have to find a way of settling the remaining $50,000 needed for the surgery. 

    Although the surgery might proceed as expected, it will probably cause more financial burden to Andrew than Sherry. 

    Post-Surgery Recovery Period 

    The length of the post-surgery recovery period also influences the settlement amount in two ways. Firstly, you may be entitled to a higher settlement if you need a longer period to recover from surgery.

    After every surgical procedure, the doctor usually writes a report stating the details of the operation and the expected recovery time. Therefore, the longer the recovery time, the higher the settlement in the form of economic and non-economic damages.

    Using the same logic, the settlement could be lower if surgery was needed, but you recovered quickly and didn't experience any pain or suffering afterward. If the doctor determines that you've made a full post-surgery recovery, you may not be able to sue for lost wages after the recovery process. 

  • How a Morgan & Morgan Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

    Just because the other party is at fault doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be rightfully compensated -only a personal injury attorney can change that. 

    There are so many factors that need to be considered when filing a personal injury claim. And, given that each injury case is unique, it's always advisable to let legal experts fight for your rights. 

    There's no doubt that surgery can increase the value of your claim, but this is never a guarantee. One mistake on your side could be enough to swing the case in favor of the defendant, losing thousands of dollars in the process. 

    However, working with a personal injury attorney from Morgan & Morgan makes a huge difference. Our law firm consists of more than 800 personal injury attorneys, serving clients from all corners of the United States. 

    Once you get in touch with us, we'll evaluate your claim and let you know whether you have a case against the defendant. If so, we'll then assign an experienced attorney to your case.

    This attorney will do everything that needs to be done to build a strong case against the defendant. From gathering evidence to interviewing witnesses, the list of things a personal injury attorney can help you with is endless. 

    Did you know that a personal injury attorney can pay a witness to testify at no cost to you unless they win the case? 

    That's right. When it comes to fighting for your rights, Morgan & Morgan attorneys will go to unimaginable lengths. Whether you've undergone surgery already or are scheduled for an upcoming one and you aren't sure if it will increase or decrease your settlement, speaking to a personal injury attorney gives you peace of mind. It also marks the first step to receiving the compensation you deserve.

  • Contact a Morgan & Morgan Personal Injury Attorney

    Morgan & Morgan attorneys are always ready to fight for you; all you need to do is submit your case details online for a free case evaluation or call us at 877-602-8690 today!

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