Personal injury claims are initiated to recover the damages suffered after an accident. If you have been injured due to the fault of another person or entity, you have the right to be compensated for it. So how are personal injury claims calculated? We have put together this guide to give you an idea. However, the formula presented here may not be enough to provide you with accurate values. It is important to determine the fair monetary amount of injury claims. Therefore, to fully understand how the claims process works, it is still best to consult personal injury lawyers.
Calculating the Types of Injury Claims
Personal injury claims are classified into different categories. Depending on the unique circumstances of each case, damages may be recovered for the following:
Economic Damages Calculation
Economic damages are the expenses incurred due to the accident. To determine the value of economic damages, you have to list the amount of money you have spent on things such as:
- Medical treatment/ hospital bills (total medical bills incurred including doctor’s fees and transportation expenses of each visit)
- Medications/ rehabilitation equipment (includes the cost of all medicines prescribed, plus tools like a wheelchair, crutch, etc.)
- Property damage (this includes the fair market value of your vehicle and other personal things damaged during the accident) For car accident victims, you may use this claim calculator to determine the approximate value of your claim.
- Lost earnings due to absence from work (the dollar value of each day missed multiplied by the total days of absence)
- Estimated future loss of income due to injuries (value of lost earnings in the next few weeks or months due to inability to go back to work)
- Any other medical expenses needed for full recovery (cost of ongoing medical treatments multiplied by the estimated number of required treatments still needed in the future)
To come up with an accurate assessment of economic damages, you must collect proof. Thus, it is a must to keep receipts of all repair bills and doctor records. You must be able to prove that the financial cost of each damage is valid. Then, add up all the expenses. The total amount is your economic damages.
Non-economic Damages Calculation
While economic damages are easy to quantify, calculating non-economic damages is not that simple. Determining monetary compensation for pain and suffering involves a complex process. You need to factor in all the negative effects brought on by the accident. Aside from the physical discomfort from your injuries, there is emotional distress and mental trauma.
There are two methods for calculating non-economic damages:
This method uses a multiplier to determine the value of non-quantifiable damages in injury claims. It depends on several factors. One is the severity of your injuries. Then, the degree of suffering it has brought into your life. In addition, is the future length of the suffering due to the accident. Insurance companies also use multipliers when negotiating settlements.
One way of doing this is by getting the sum of the economic damages, then multiplying it by a certain number. The multiplier can be as low as 1.5, or as high as 4 to 5, depending on the seriousness of your case.
For example, here is a formula: Total hospital bills x 4 = non-economic damages.
Injury claims may apply a higher multiplier when the factors below are justified:
- It is undeniable that the other party was at fault.
- Your injuries were medically examined and detected.
- You need surgery for your injuries.
- The injury left you scarred, disabled, or permanently weak.
- Your doctor has diagnosed you with recurring and long-term medical conditions caused by your injuries.
If one or more factors listed above define your injuries, then you can justify a high multiplier for your injury claims. Our team of lawyers at Warnock MacKinlay Law can help you determine the reasonable multiplier for your non-economic losses.
Per Diem method
“Per Diem” is the Latin term for “per day”. Injury lawyers also use this method for calculating compensation for pain and suffering. The Per Diem system uses a set amount for each day suffered due to the accident.
Injury claims calculated using the Per Diem method also need to be justified. Like the ones computed by a multiplier, you need to provide proof. Each day is equivalent to an amount, usually comparable to the rate of your daily earnings.
Suppose the accident did not happen and you were able to go to work as usual. How much would you have earned by the end of the day?
Now, consider that amount. Count the number of days that you were not able to work due to your injuries.
Then multiply using this formula: Expected daily earnings x the number of missed days due to injuries = non-economic damages.
Using these methods can help you come up with a reasonable value for your injury claims. The other party and the insurance adjuster may present a different calculation, using a lower multiplier or a daily rate. Thus, you need the help of skilled injury lawyers like the ones here at Warnock MacKinlay Law. Our thorough investigation can help you prove the level of pain and suffering caused by the accident. We can assist you in finding the right medical care and documentation so you can justify your losses.
Punitive Damages Calculation
Injury claims in some personal injury cases may include punitive damages. There are cases where the liable party was indeed guilty of engaging in unsafe conduct that will definitely cause injury. Injury lawyers might include punitive damages in drunk driving accidents and bad faith insurance claims. Such cases require presenting a clear and convincing standard of proof. Afterward, the jury will decide on the amount of punitive damages that they will award to the victim.
According to the Arizona Supreme Court, the 4:1 ratio is already deemed unconstitutional. Therefore, punitive damages may likely be equal or more than the amount of the total compensation. Depending on the severity of the evil conduct, it may even reach twice the amount of economic and non-economic damages.
The calculations presented in this article only serve as examples. It does not provide an accurate computation for your injury claims. If you need to know the appropriate value of your case, our lawyers at Warnock MacKinlay Law would gladly assist you.