Here’s an important piece of advice for anyone who has been injured in an accident: Do not depend on the insurance company’s adjuster to accurately determine the full amount of compensation you deserve. Instead, learn how to estimate your claim’s worth for yourself.
It can be difficult to determine the total amount of money that fairly represents the losses you have incurred. No special formula exists to help calculate the right amount.
Because each injury is different, each claim is also different. An individual’s settlement constitutes a culmination of the unique circumstances that caused the injury. It helps to know how to value the medical costs, emotional distress and lost wages. The information below will shed light on factors such as pain and suffering, hard costs, and elements the insurance company may attempt to use against the victim.
What is My Claim Worth?
In any type of injury, it is a given that losses will follow. In insurance company lingo, the term “damages” will be used to describe such losses. Below are the two categories insurance companies use when referencing damages:
- General damages, also known as non-economic damages, include the intangible losses a victim endures and will continue to experience in the future. Emotional trauma and pain fall into the category of general damages.
- Special damages, also known as economic damages, include the computable amounts of money the victim has lost and will keep losing due to the negligence of the party who caused the accident. Special damages are things like lost wages and medical bills.
Calculate General Damages
It is more difficult to assess general damages, because every injury case is different, and there is no specific, objective measurement for the suffering a victim experiences. One person’s pain and suffering will never be identical to another person’s. Even though two individuals may sustain the exact same injury, one of the individuals may have much more pain than the other. One of them might develop depression while the other one may not. Additionally, one of them may not be able to work due to the pain, but the other may continue working unaffected.
General damages that fall under “pain and suffering” may include:
- Physical aches and pain
- Emotional distress
- Anxiety and depression
- Inability to concentrate
- Persistent sleep loss
- Loss of consortium
Calculate Special Damages
To figure out special damages, add all the hard costs that resulted from the injury. Special damages are the actual dollar amounts of the following:
- Medical bills, including nursing care, rehabilitation, and therapy
- Lost wages, past and future
- Replacement costs such as housekeeping, childcare, and yard work during the period of incapacitation
- Personal items lost or damaged
- Out-of-pocket expenses like medicine, transportation costs to medical appointments, crutches, etc.
The foundation of an individual’s injury claim calculation is the total of the special damages. With no medical bills, there is likely to be no injury claim. One should add the total amount of each medical bill, even if a portion of the cost was covered by a healthcare plan at the time of treatment.
Some medical services will include more than one bill:
- Hospital emergency departments send one bill, then the patient receives a separate bill from the treating physician.
- Imaging tests like an MRI, X-Ray and CT scan often involve one bill from the facility where the test occurred, then an additional bill from the physician who interpreted the test.
Calculate an Estimate
Once the total amount of special damages is known, to arrive at an estimation of the pain and suffering value, multiply the special damages figure by one or two. Many insurance companies will allow multiplication of one or two times the amount of specials in mild to moderate personal injury claims. However, in the case of severe injuries, a victim should enlist the services of a highly skilled personal injury attorney to force the insurance company to pay an appropriate amount for pain and suffering.
High-dollar injury calculations include the following:
- Permanent injuries or persistent pain – Long-term pain from complex wounds or invasive treatments; or permanent physical injuries like amputations, scarring or paralysis support larger amounts for general damages.
- Extreme Mental Anguish – The more intense and deeper the mental anguish suffered by the victim, the larger the compensation. This type of issue is easier to prove if the individual needed care from a mental health professional due to the injuries.
- Shocking events – Injuries resulting from shocking events like plane crashes, shootings, or being caught in a burning vehicle may justify a larger general damage amount.
Demand for Compensation
No matter what dollar amount a victim may come up with when estimating compensation owed to him or her, there is a requirement first. There is a burden on the victim’s attorney and the victim to prove to the insurance company that:
- The insured did something wrong or failed to act responsibly
- The insured owed the victim a duty of care (had an obligation to avoid causing harm)
- The insured’s negligence directly caused the victim’s injuries
- The insured is liable (responsible for the victim’s damages)
Supporting documents will be needed as evidence to prove the victim’s claim. These include items such as medical records, witness statements, and photographs. All of these documents can prove valuable to a personal injury attorney in getting the most compensation for a victim.
Your Settlement May Take Time
It is important to note that the legal process for personal injury lawsuits may take months or even years to settle. Many injured plaintiffs require compensation as soon as possible to pay daily expenses, monthly bills, and to take care of their families.
If you are looking for financial assistance while waiting for your lawsuit to settle or if your case has settled and you are waiting for the reward to be processed, contact The Legal Funding Group. We provide plaintiffs with settlement loans and cash advances to help them get through any type of financial struggles they may be facing because of someone else’s negligence.
Call 912-777-3997 or fill out a quick and easy online application. No credit score or financial history is required for approval.