How Are Damages Calculated In A Personal Injury Claim?


A major worry for many folks when they first meet with a personal injury attorney is figuring out how damages will be calculated for their claims. Insurance companies use a structured process for establishing how much compensation a claimant will receive. Let's look at its components and how your personal injury lawyer and the insurer will arrive at a number.

Special and General Damages

These both fall under the broader heading of compensatory damages. Such damages are intended as compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional traumas, and the loss of things like earning potential, educational opportunity, consortium, and parenting. Special damages involve specifically identifiable numbers, and general damages involve things that are hard to calculate.

Establishing Special Damages

A baseline has to be established before a larger calculation can be performed. This baseline is derived from special damages. These are the things that can be specifically itemized with bills, such as the obvious example of your past and current medical expenses. Long-term care expenses also fall into this category, even though they're a little harder to nail down. The idea is to tally up everything that comes with a number.

The Multiplier

Traditionally, the calculation of damages during an injury claim involves a multiplier. You'll usually see a multiplier of between 1.5 and 5. This number is then multiplied by the special damages to arrive at what the general damages ought to be.

Arriving at the Multiplier

You're likely wondering, "How the heck does anyone select a multiplier?" If there's going to be a bone of contention between an insurance claims adjuster and a personal injury lawyer over a settlement offer, this is probably where it will be.

The level of the multiplier is driven by how life-changing the injuries the victim suffered are. Extreme cases would call for a multiplier of 5. These would typically involve things like disfigurement, lost or maimed body parts, brain or spinal injuries, and nerve or muscle damage. Likewise, these sorts of injuries tend to be permanent if they justify a multiplier of 5.

At the low end of the scale, a 1.5 multiplier might involve a couple of broken bones and some scrapes and bruises. It doesn't mean the victim didn't suffer, but these injuries are less likely to be life-altering.

It's worth noting that some states limit recoveries of general damages. Particularly, compensation for emotional trauma, pain, and suffering is sometimes limited.

Contact an attorney such as Kenneth P Hicks​ for more information about personal injury law.


27 July 2020

Working With A Lawyer

If you are injured in an accident, what is your first move? While getting medical care should be your first priority, the fact of the matter is that working with the right lawyer can be incredibly helpful in making it easier to prevent problems. For starters, your lawyer can talk with you about what to do in order to prevent problems with your paperwork, and he or she can chat with you about what to do when you start getting calls from other attorneys talking about the case. On this website, check out great tips and tricks you can use to prevent problems with your recovery from a financial perspective.