In order to understand how damages are calculated you must understand an important distinction between types of damages. Damages are broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that have a concrete value attached to them and can be calculated to come to an exact dollar amount. The types of expenses that can be submitted to be compensated for include:
- Emergency room treatment
- The estimated future cost of continuing treatment or therapy
- Lost wages from being unable to work
- Future lost earnings or income due to the inability to work
- Repair costs or replacement cost for the damaged property
- Rental car expenses
- Insurance deductibles and copayments
- In the case of wrongful death, the funeral expenses
Then there are non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. These take into consideration the severity of the victim’s injuries as well as their subjective experience being victimized. For example, if someone’s job required them to have full use of their hands or legs but the accident caused them to lose the ability to use those body parts, then the injury can have a devastating effect on their career and sense of self-worth. If a parent cannot enjoy taking care of their family or interacting with their children because their injury physically prevents them from doing so, for example, then a qualified attorney from The King Law Firm can help them get the damages they deserve.
Is there a formula to calculate damages?
Insurance claims adjusters will never tell you what the exact formula was that they used to come up with your settlement amount. They will not even disclose that to your attorney. But there are some general guidelines that they follow that understanding economic noneconomic damages will help to explain.
First, damages are calculated by totaling up the sum of all of your economic damages. That part is relatively straightforward in a lot of cases, but not always.
Secondly, there is a multiplier that the total number is calculated with to get to the final number that represents how much you will receive for your non-economic damages. The more severe the pain and suffering, the higher the multiplier. In the most egregious cases where someone is killed in an accident, the multiplier can be as high as 10. In a case where there were serious but non-life-threatening injuries, then the multiplier can be as high as three or four. If there are minor injuries then the multiplier may be 1.5.
Frequently Asked Questions in Personal Injury Cases
These are some of the most commonly asked questions by the victims of accidents. If you are involved in an accident, however, you should contact a qualified personal injury in your area. Most personal injury lawyers provide free, no-obligation consultations where you can find out specific answers to your case.
How much does a personal injury attorney cost?
Most personal injury law firms advertise that there are no out-of-pocket costs, but that’s not the same as free legal advice. When you commit to a personal injury lawyer to handle your case, you sign a contingency fee agreement, which allows your attorney to recover their fees from the funds you receive from your claim. These agreements are usually regulated by the state bar. It is true, however, when a personal injury attorney claims that they only get paid if you win. They will receive a portion of the proceeds of your settlement or court award per your agreement.
Is it better to represent myself and avoid paying any attorney fees?
The short answer is “no.” While nearly every insurer will tell you that you don’t need to retain the services of a personal injury attorney to represent you, insurance companies are notorious for low-balling damage amounts. In the end, you may find yourself wishing that you had hired an attorney. For example, your insurance company may offer you $12,000 for your car accident injuries, but if you hired an attorney who takes a 30% contingency fee, but they’re able to get the car insurer to raise the settlement amount to $30,000, you walk away with $21,000 after their fees. This, of course, is an oversimplification, but what you should know is that a competent personal injury lawyer is usually worth hiring.
What should I do after an accidental injury to help my claim?
There are several things that you can do to bolster your claim and help avoid disputes about the extent of your injuries. Here are a few suggestions. Remember, every accident is different:
- Call for help. If you are in a car accident, call 911. If you’re in a store call for a manager. Do not walk away from the scene if you don’t have to.
- Allow rescue workers to examine you, and if necessary, transport you to the hospital.
- Take pictures or video of the accident scene, your injuries, and other victims’ injuries. This can be used for evidence at a later date.
- Note the location of any surveillance cameras.
- Get the names and contact information of potential witnesses.
- Follow up with your doctor.
- Call a qualified accident lawyer as soon as possible.
- Do not sign anything from the insurance company or their representatives.
Why Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney Is Necessary
Some people think that their case is straightforward and that it should be obvious that they deserve compensation. But when the defendant’s lawyers see that you do not have an attorney, then they will try to take advantage of you. The defendant’s lawyers will use every argument they have to lower the amount you deserve. Do not accept their offers.
This is why it is important to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who will fight for you to get the most compensation. Only an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney can argue for pain and suffering that you have endured so that it is recognized and rightfully compensated by the liable party.