If you have a personal injury claim, you may be wary of filing a lawsuit but also dissatisfied with the amount being offered by the insurance company. Most people feel lost or overwhelmed when looking at all the losses experienced after an accident. In the face of pain and suffering, they do not know where to begin. The good news is that nearly all personal injury cases result in a settlement and that most losses are recoverable in such a settlement.
“Lowball” Offer From Insurance Company
While you should never consider taking a “lowball” offer from an insurance company before consulting with an attorney, settlement is the most desirable outcome for your claim. More than 95% of personal injury cases settle before trial because settling offers many advantages.
Advantages of Settlement
- Fast – negotiating a settlement takes less time than going to court.
- Less Stressful – trials can be difficult for all parties.
- Fair – jury trials can be unpredictable and sometimes unfair.
Settlements in personal injury cases range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars, with the value of a claim dependent on the facts of the case. Most settlements fall somewhere between these two extremes.
Personal injury settlement amounts depend on:
- Type of injury
- Severity of injury, including cost and duration of treatment
- Impact of injury, including lost wages or disability
- Emotional and psychological damage from injuries
Role of Insurance
A key factor in determining the settlement amount is the type of insurance available and any limits contained in the policies. This is a complex issue, as an accident may involve multiple policies.
Types of Compensation/Losses
The following types of loss may be recovered in a personal injury case:
- Medical Bills, including doctor and hospital expenses, medications, physical therapy, and out-of-pocket expenses.
- Long-term costs of permanent or long-lasting disability, including future medical bills and expenses.
- Lost Wages if you have missed work recovering or seeking treatment.
- Lost earning capacity for injuries that impact earning ability.
- Loss of quality of life.
- Pain and suffering.
Special damages (items 1-4 above) are those losses that are easy to calculate and assign a value to. They include medical bills, lost wages, and the future value of lost earning potential or long-term disability. An expert may estimate future damages, which involves economic loss and assigning a specific dollar figure.
Other losses are much harder to place a dollar value upon, including damages for pain and suffering and for loss of the enjoyment of life. To estimate these types of losses, an attorney must use another method, such as a multiplier or per Diem method.
- Multiplier Method. The multiplier method takes the total of all special damages and multiplies that by another number. So, if medical bills and lost wages are $20,000 and the multiplier is 3, the amount assigned to pain and suffering would be $60,000. The multiplier depends on the nature of the injury and the pain and loss in question: the more severe the pain or loss, the higher the multiplier.
- Per Diem Method. This method sets a daily amount for pain or lost enjoyment and multiplies it by the number of days the pain or loss will continue. The amount assigned per day is dependent on the severity of the pain or the nature of the loss.
Calculating the settlement of a personal injury claim involves determining the total amount of special damages and adding in general damages. While this may sound simple, determining the amount of settlement is complicated and should be done by an experienced attorney after a thorough review of your case. To analyze your claim, your attorney will collect medical records and bills, police reports, witness statements, bank statements, and other documents to establish all your losses.
If you have suffered an injury, don’t attempt to take on the settlement process alone. The Cullotta Bravo Law Team can assist you in gathering information and can negotiate the best possible settlement of your claim. Call 630-898-7800 or contact us online.