Each personal injury accident is different, and so is the final compensation amount received by the victims. When calculating the settlement, victims include the medical expenses related to treating the injuries from the accident as well as any wages that were lost during the recovery period. Insurance companies will typically add up the easily quantifiable expenses. However, this addition is one that can also include damages for pain and suffering, in this case, by using a separate calculation formula.
Adding up the damages
Calculating the amount of the compensation is usually a straightforward operation, especially when the victim is found not to be at fault (and thus his/her compensation cannot be reduced by his or her negligence in the accident). In most cases, the settlement amount will be a simple addition of the expenses incurred after the accident. In other situations, when the victim is subject to psychological trauma, they will also include damages for pain and suffering, a different category that is subject to other calculation methods.
A personal injury calculator can be a useful tool for the initial calculation. When using it, you can include the main types of expenses, which will add up to a settlement value estimate. It is advisable to use this tool to gain a clearer idea of the settlement amount. However, it is recommended to avoid relying solely on it when demanding a settlement for the injuries.
Types of damages included in the compensation
The following types of damages are included when calculating the compensation amount:
Medical care: the medical bills issued shortly after the accident, for treating the immediate injuries;
Future medical care: medical care incurred for the subsequent treatment of the injuries sustained in the accident (long-term medical care or assistance);
Lost earnings: income lost as a direct result of the accident, shortly after the injury was sustained;
Future lost wages: any projected future income or business opportunities that will be lost as a result of the accident;
Property damage: damages to the victim’s property, such as the vehicle involved in the accident or other assets.
These broad categories may or may not be included in all situations. Because each case is different, victims can choose a personal injury lawyer to work with who will be able to counsel on what types of compensations they can ask for.
The two methods described below are the ones commonly used for determining the other types of compensations, those for pain and suffering.
The multiplier method
This is a method commonly used both by lawyers and by insurance companies. The quantifiable damages (medical bills and lost wages, property damage) are multiplied by a certain number. This number of determined by the severity of the accident and it is generally between 1 and 5, with 5 being used only in severe cases, those in which the victim is left with a permanent disability.
The per-day method
The per-day method uses a certain amount that will be offered every day for a certain pre-determined period until the victim has reached the maximum level of recovery after the injury.
Regardless of the method used to calculate the compensation amount, victims should keep in mind that they do not need to accept the first offer or settle for an amount that will be insufficient for covering their present and/or future expenses resulted from the accident.