After an accident, victims may struggle to recover from serious injuries, buried under a deluge of unexpected and unaffordable medical debt, facing significant property repair or replacement costs, and unable to work.
Financial concerns like these are common among people who've been injured in an accident, so it's easy to understand why questions about the potential value of their personal injury cases is one of the first things prospective clients ask us. While it would be nice to be able to give clients an immediate answer—and one with lots of zeroes—the truth is that it can be difficult to accurately estimate what your case might be worth without going over the details.
However, learning more about the types of compensation available in personal injury cases, and a common formula for estimating potential damages, can give accident victims an idea of what might be possible if they choose to exercise their rights and file successful personal injury lawsuits.
The easiest damages to calculate in personal injury cases are economic losses, also known as special damages or out-of-pocket losses. These damages are tallied by adding up all the costs associated with the accident and the injuries you sustained. Common examples of economic losses include:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses, including related travel costs.
- The cost to repair or replace a vehicle damaged or destroyed in the accident.
- Lost wages if you're unable to work while receiving treatment for or recovering from your injuries.
- Lost earning potential if your injuries are serious enough that they'll keep you out of work permanently or force you into a lower-paying job.
While economic losses are relatively easy to calculate, non-economic losses—also known as general damages—are things that have no direct monetary value, which can make them much more difficult to accurately assess. Examples of non-economic losses include:
- Physical pain and suffering caused by injuries sustained in the accident
- Severe mental anguish
- Emotional problems, including anxiety, depression, stress, strained relationships, etc.
- Humiliation and embarrassment caused by visible scarring or disfigurement
- Decreased quality of life
- Reduced enjoyment of life
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of educational, familial, or social enrichment, such as missed vacations or other events
Estimating Potential Damages
Once you've learned the types of damages that may be applicable in your personal injury case, you can use an injury damage formula to estimate its potential worth. While damages for economic losses are simple to determine, formulas for calculating damages for non-economic losses provide a settlement range, at best.
Start by multiplying your economic losses by a multiplier of 1.5 to 5—the more serious the injury, the higher the multiplier—and then add the economic and non-economic estimates together for an idea of the overall settlement amount. Keep in mind the use of the multiplier is hardly a sound science; discussing the details of your case with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to gauge its potential value.
The majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court, often for less than what high-multiplier estimates would have you believe. During negotiations, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney will provide the aggressive representation necessary to ensure you receive a financial award that's fair. Should the case continue to trial, a judge or jury will determine what you receive in damages.
Are You Considering a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you were injured by another person's negligent actions, you shouldn't have to bear the financial consequences of those actions by yourself. McGartland Law's award-winning and board-certified founder can help you pursue a monetary award that meets your needs. Contact McGartland Law today to schedule a no-cost initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.