Calculating How Much Your Personal Injury Case is Worth
The main reason that most people would consider filing a personal injury lawsuit is to cover actual expenses they incurred because of the injuries they sustained. These are called economic damages, and usually includes medical bills, actual and projected loss of wages, cost of medical aids or devices, and life care. According to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., the financial burden can be devastating. However, there is also another type of damages, which are less quantifiable. These are non-economic damages and usually includes emotional distress, and of course pain and suffering.
In most cases, the plaintiff is suing the liability insurance company of the defendant, directly or indirectly. This is nothing new to insurance companies, and they routinely offer a settlement to avoid the costs of court litigation. The settlement will depend on various factors that insurance adjusters include in the compensation formula to calculate the monetary worth of the claim. When they know that, then they can start negotiating.
The compensation (or damages) formula is necessary when non-economic damages are involved. Economic damages are easy to compute because these are actual costs supported by receipts, pay slips, and so on and so forth. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are not a fixed figure. Who can say how much a person’s pain is worth? Insurance must, and do, estimate non-economic damages using what they call medical special damages.
Medical special damages are the sum of all injury-related medical expenses. The insurer multiplies this sum by a factor ranging from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity of the injury and the physical pain involved. As a rule of thumb, the more obvious the extent of the injury, the higher the multiplier. The lost income is then added to this number. The final figure constitutes the start point of the settlement negotiations.
Most insurers will start low, hoping the plaintiff will be just as anxious to settle as they are. This is the value of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Good Iowa car accident attorneys know how insurers estimate their liability, and how to compel them to use a higher multiplier. The plaintiff is much more likely to get a better settlement if they get the right lawyer to go to bat for them.