After an injury, you are likely concerned about paying for medical bills, as well as everyday expenses if you miss time from work. However, there are certain factors you need to keep in mind when determining the value of your personal injury case, such as the following:
- No one has a simple, accurate formula you can use to calculate how much your personal injury claim might be worth. Numerous factors affect how much money you might ultimately recover in your case. No formula or online personal injury calculator can truly account for all the details that impact the outcome of your personal injury claim.
- You typically will not be able to accurately calculate or even estimate the total value of your personal injury claim immediately after an accident. It can take days or even weeks for doctors to diagnose all the injuries you suffered in an accident and determine how much treatment you might need. Doctors may also be unable to definitively say whether you will make a full recovery or be left with permanent disabilities until you’re well into your course of treatment.
- Personal injury settlements are not reached by simply multiplying your medical bills and other financial expenses. Insurance companies consider many more factors in determining how much compensation they agree to pay in a settlement.
Factors That Can Change Your Settlement Amount
The amount of money you might recover in a personal injury settlement is based largely on the financial and personal losses you have sustained due to your injuries. But other factors can also affect the amount of a settlement, including the following:
- The severity of your injuries
- Cost of medical treatment and rehabilitation
- Your lost wages and income
- Whether your injuries prevent you from returning to your job or any form of work
- Whether you have sustained any permanent physical or cognitive disabilities or disfigurement
- The strength of the evidence in support of your claim, including the proof you have of the other party’s fault for your injuries and the documentation of your losses
- Whether you bear any share of fault for causing the accident and your injuries
- The policy limits of any applicable insurance coverages, as insurers cannot pay you more than the limits of the policy, even if you have sustained far greater expenses and losses
- Whether the at-fault party or their insurance think they could get a favorable result at trial
How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
In the past, some insurers and attorneys may have calculated compensation for an accident victim’s pain and suffering by simply multiplying the financial losses the victim incurred by some factor. The more serious the injuries suffered by an accident victim, the higher the multiplier used.
Today, many personal injury attorneys recognize that using multipliers often provides an inaccurate calculation of an accident victim’s pain and suffering. Instead, compensation for personal injury settlements is based on the available evidence of the physical pain, emotional trauma, and reduced quality of life that an accident victim has sustained.
Examples of the types of evidence that may be used to calculate pain and suffering compensation are as follows:
- Medical records and treatment notes
- Testimony from medical, financial, and vocational experts
- Testimony from family members, friends, co-workers, and other acquaintances
- Your own testimony describing the pain and emotional suffering you experienced, including journals that you kept during your recovery
- Jury verdicts in cases involving similar types of accidents and injuries.
How Can I Calculate the Overall Amount of My Personal Injury Claim?
To calculate the total amount of your personal injury claim, you will first need to add up all the expenses and losses you have incurred because of your injuries. Ultimately, a personal injury case will allow you to pursue compensation for the different types of losses you sustain due to your injuries, such as the following:
- Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation
- Long-term care expenses, such as home health services, medical equipment, and home renovations
- Lost wages or income from missed work while recovering from injuries
- Lost future earning ability if disabilities interfere with returning to work
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and distress
- Lost enjoyment and quality of life
You may also want to consider other compensation you might be awarded in a personal injury trial, such as punitive damages. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate you for a specific loss but rather to punish the party or parties at fault for your injuries for their especially egregious conduct.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me Maximize My Compensation?
Accident victims represented by legal counsel typically recover more compensation than injured victims who try to pursue financial recovery without legal assistance. An experienced attorney can help you maximize your personal injury settlement by:
- Thoroughly investigating the accident for evidence to prove the fault of the other party for your injuries
- Hiring expert witnesses to assist with accident reconstruction and provide testimony on medical, vocational, or financial issues in your case
- Documenting your injuries, financial expenses, and personal suffering
- Identifying liable parties and applicable insurance coverages
- Filing claims for compensation on your behalf and aggressively negotiating with insurance claims adjusters and defense lawyers to try to secure fair and full compensation
- If necessary, advising you when going to court to fight for the financial recovery you need and advocating your case to the jury and judge to pursue a verdict in your favor