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Ever since the financial collapse of 2008, New Mexico insurance companies have become stingier and stingier on the amount of settlement that are being offered on personal injury claims. Insurance adjusters claim that they "just don't have as much money as they used to" as the reason for this failure to pay the full value of claims. The question I want to discuss today is, What is the fair evaluation of a personal injury claim with soft tissue injuries. Let's say that you are involved in an accident with significant property damage to your vehicle. You don't have a prior history of back or neck problems. You are taken by ambulance to the emergency room, examined, given x-rays and prescription drugs, told that you have a neck/back strain injury and sent home. A few days later you go to a chiropracter and treat for a few months. You don't miss any work. You feel great when released by the doctor. Let's also assume that your medical bills are at about $8,000.00 Given these limited facts, I would value the case at about $24,000 but most insurance companies would offer you $12,000--less than half the amount of my value. Am I wrong in my valuation, or is the insurance company wrong? I believe the only way to determine the true value of the case is to base the value on prior experience. I routinely take cases to trial and arbitration. I can say definitively that this case would result in an award of about $24,000 I have done this time after time with the same result. CASES ARE STILL WORTH THREE TIMES THE MEDICAL BILLS if you have clear liability, significant property damage, good medical care of soft tissue injuries (whiplash, etc). As lawyers, we cannot accept amounts less than the real value of the case, and we must be willing to litigate cases to get our clients the amount that our clients deserve--the true value of the case. Caruso Law Offices is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico and exclusively handles personal injury claims including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accident, bus accidents, pedestrian accidents resulting in personal injuries, brain injury, permanent injury and impairment and wrongful death. Offices are located in Albuquerque's North East Heights at 4302 Carlisle NE (Montgomery & Carlisle) and in Albuquerque's West Side at 2929 Coors NW Suite 310-E. Free one hour consultations with an attorney are available by calling 505-883-5000 Attorney Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now represents injured clients in their personal injury claims. He is a 1982 graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law and is a former State Representative in the New Mexico Legislature.
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