Calculating Damages in Personal Injury Cases
A personal injury can impact a person’s life in multiple ways. Besides the physical limitations that are likely to be experienced, most people suffer from stress, mental anguish, and pain. Then, there are the financial losses that need to be accounted for; medical bills quickly add up, and if an injury leaves a person unable to work, financial losses will be multiplied even further. A personal injury lawsuit allows injury victims to collect compensation for damages suffered as a result of their injury. However, determining just how much financial compensation is due is not as simple as it may seem. It is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney, such as those at Foley Law Firm, to be certain that these calculations are done correctly. When calculating damages in personal injury cases for our Scranton, PA clients, we take into account all aspects of losses to ensure that individuals are compensated to the maximum extent of the law.
When insurance companies or injury attorneys are determining a suitable settlement for a personal injury lawsuit, they generally use the same basic formula. In short, this formula takes the special damages incurred by the accident (the financial losses) and adds that figure to the general damages incurred by the injury (pain and suffering). Although this formula is a fairly simple one, it may not be so easy to determine appropriate figures for special damages and general damages. This is where a personal injury attorney can be of assistance.
Calculating Special Damages
Special damages, or the financial losses of an injury, are fairly straightforward to calculate. To determine a dollar amount for this category of losses, we simply add together all the financial losses that have been, and will be, incurred. It is important to consider all categories of financial loss including property damage (if applicable), medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, and the loss of future income earning potential. If there are any uncertainties regarding future expenses or losses, our attorneys can help determine an appropriate estimate for these fields. With all of these losses added together, we can determine one lump figure for special damages.
Calculating General Damages
General damages, which describe the physical and emotional losses that are experienced as the result of an injury, are more difficult to calculate. To determine this sum, we take the amount of special damages and multiply that figure by a number (the multiplier). The multiplier varies from case to case, and can generally fall anywhere between 1.5 and five. Whether the multiplier is higher or lower will be based on the details of the injury. When determining the multiplier, we will consider the following:
- The severity of the injury
- The amount of medical treatment that was needed
- How much medical care will be needed in the future
- If the results of the injury are long-term or if a full recovery is expected
The multiplier is often a point of contention between insurance providers and attorneys. Adjustors often argue for a lower multiplier, but our attorneys will fight for a higher multiplier that does not undermine the pain and suffering of our clients. Once general damages have been calculated, this figure will be added to the special damages to achieve a dollar amount for total injury losses.
Schedule an Appointment
If you have suffered a personal injury due to the fault or negligence of another person or party, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced attorney, such as those at Foley Law Firm. Our attorneys will examine the details of your accident and come up with an appropriate figure to ensure you are adequately compensated for the full extent of your damages. To learn more, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys at your earliest convenience.