How Will My Injury Lawyer Calculate Damages in My Case?

When you're figuring out how much money you are owed after getting injured, it's a bit like piecing together a puzzle. This usually happens when you're talking to an insurance company or getting ready for a lawsuit. The person who caused your injury (or their insurance) is the one expected to foot the bill for things like your medical costs and the toll of the pain and emotional stress you've been through. Unfortunately, there's no magic formula in the law that tells you exactly how much you should get.

What damages are covered?

When it comes to figuring out how much you should get for an injury, you must take into account things like actual costs and the emotional toll it's taken on you.

In a personal injury lawsuit, there are generally two main types of damages that a person can seek: economic and non-economic damages.

  • Economic damages. These are the tangible, monetary losses that a person incurs as a result of an injury. They include things like medical bills, lost wages (if the injury prevents you from working), property damage (like damage to your car in a car accident), and any other out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the injury. Economic damages are relatively straightforward to calculate because they involve actual dollar amounts that can be proven with bills, receipts, and financial records.
  • Non-economic damages. These are a bit trickier to quantify because they involve the emotional and intangible losses that result from an injury. Non-economic damages encompass things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and the impact the injury has on your overall quality of life. These damages are more subjective and don't have a clear dollar value, making them a point of negotiation during a lawsuit.

The idea behind going for both types of damages is to make you feel whole again, or at least as close to it as possible. It's not just about covering the money you lost (that's the economic part), but also making up for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you went through (the non-economic part).

But here's the twist: Some places have rules about the amount of non-economic damages you can get. They set caps or limits to stop giant payouts. Those rules aren't the same everywhere, and they depend on what happened and where it happened. So, it's a bit of a mixed bag, depending on your situation and where you are.

How is the cost calculated?

To estimate general damages, insurers and attorneys frequently use a multiplier method, which is applied to the medical special damages. The multiplier typically ranges from 1.5 to 5, or even higher in extreme cases. For instance, if your medical special damages amount to $1,000, using a multiplier of 1.5, you might seek $1,500 in general damages. For more severe injuries with $100,000 in medical bills, using a multiplier of 5, you might request $500,000 in general damages.

There is also the per diem method. This method takes it day by day. You decide how much each day of suffering is worth to you. Let's say you pick $50 a day, and you went through 100 days of pain – that adds up to $5,000. Simple, right? It's a way to put a number on what you've been through without getting into all the nitty-gritty financial stuff. Just remember, it's your call on how much each day is worth.

However, remember that this is a starting point. Other factors can influence the final amount, especially if your case goes to a jury trial. Variables like the effectiveness of your witnesses, the sympathy factor, and the dramatic nature of your accident or injury can sway the jury's decision and impact the outcome of your case. So, while these calculations provide a useful beginning estimate, be prepared for adjustments based on the specific circumstances of your case and the perspectives of those involved.

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