Calculating Compensation for Personal Injury Case
Personal injury cases fall under tort law, where the person bringing up the lawsuit has already suffered harm to his body as well as mind. These cases are filed in accusation to the party, which caused the harm through acts of negligence, intentional misconduct, and reckless conduct. Common types of personal injury cases include motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, construction injury, product liability, nursing home abuse, asbestos exposure, and premises liability.
To alleviate the loss and suffering brought by the victim, the party in the wrong has to pay the determined monetary compensation.
Need for compensation
Acts of negligence, reckless conduct, and even intentional misconduct cause losses on the affected parties. There are physical, economic, and mental losses suffered by the victim and in some fatal incidences, even death. Personal injury compensation aims to return the victims to the same position they would have been had the injury or fatal accident not happened. To do this, all kinds of damages the victim has suffered are taken into account.
Types of damages
Calculating compensation for a personal injury case considers the following categories of damages
- Special damages: These are also known as economic or pecuniary (monetary) damages. They seek to recover financial loss you have incurred, and you may continue to incur due to the accused party’s actions. Special damages cover the loss that is easily quantified in monetary amounts like medical costs and income loss.
- General damages. These are also known as non-economic/non-pecuniary damages and, at times, are termed as Pain and Suffering. They cover all the intangible losses you have incurred and will continue to suffer in the future due to the injury. They mostly cover physical pain and emotional trauma.
Calculation the compensation amount
Calculating compensation for personal injury starts with finding the costs of special damages. They are easier to calculate since all that it involves is getting the hard costs of the financial losses you have suffered from including;
- All medical bills from tests to therapy and nursing care
- Direct from pocket expenses like transportation fees to medical appointments and purchase any medical-related items like crutches and even medication.
- Past and future lost wages
- Any lost or damaged personal items
- Replacement costs that result from you need to get help during the time you were incapacitated and include childcare costs, housekeeping, and even yard work, among other items.
You will need to demonstrate proof of your financial losses through your contracts, receipts, and other documents or witnesses to quantify your amount.
Special damages form the base for your overall compensation. It is hard to calculate compensation for general damages because you cannot easily put a figure, and the levels of pain and anguish vary. No two personal injury cases can be the same, and the mental and physical pain suffered, and repercussions arising from that are different. For example, loss of a limb may cause long-term depression in one person, and in another, it may not.
General damages seek to compensate for unquantifiable items like:
- Emotional anguish and distress
- Physical pain
- Anxiety and depression
- Sleeping difficulties
- Loss of consortium where the injury affects the quality of life enjoyed with loved ones like sexual relations, affection, comfort, ability to bear children, etc.
In determining the amount to give, insurance adjusters and personal injury attorneys use a formula where the total amount of the special damages is multiplied by a figure from 1.5 to 5 and in occasional cases higher and the resulting figure added to the medical amount. Small to mild injuries are usually multiplied by a figure from 1.5 to 3 while the serious cases go up to higher than five.
Factors which may affect the compensation amount awarded
It is not a straightforward case, and even the total figure obtained from the above calculation only serves as a basis to know where to begin, and the final settlement can be lower or higher. Some factors may influence the final amount settled. Unreasonable medical bills will be taken from the calculation of the final cost. In some states, shared blame may result in you being denied the claim, especially if you are equally to blame. Policy limits will determine the amount the insurer pays, and in cases where the limit has been reached, you will have to sue the at-fault party.
Why you need a top personal injury lawyer when seeking damages
Monetary compensation may not replace the loss of a loved one or limb or the pain and suffering you have suffered. It is for this reason you should get as much as possible for your loss. However, insurers and at-fault parties are also seeking to limit their damages and will do anything to have you settle for an amount comfortable to them.
You need an experienced attorney to weigh your claim’s merits, guide you through the process, gather all the proofs needed, and track all the damages you could be leaving out. More importantly, an experienced lawyer is a statement to the at-fault party that you are determined to take the claim to court if necessary. He or she will handle the negotiations.
Stambaugh Law has been settling personal injury cases for almost three decades now, and we can help you with your case. Call us today and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.