How are Personal Injury Claims Calculated?

How are Personal Injury Claims Calculated?

How much is a personal injury claim worth? This is a tough but important question. After an accident, an injured person wants to make sure their claim will cover all costs, including physical, financial, and emotional damages.

A personal injury claim calculation takes many things into account. It depends heavily upon what kinds of injuries you suffered and what types of medical expenses you’ve incurred, but it also includes other valuable factors.

Here’s how to make an accurate calculation that truly acknowledges and values the losses you’ve suffered.


Putting a Dollar Value on Your Physical Injuries

In a way, your physical injuries are the easiest part to calculate because we have something that specifically lists your costs: medical bills. These costs strongly impact your claim.

If you were in a small fender bender and just needed to go to the chiropractor, your medical costs might be fairly low. Your claim could be just a few hundred dollars and may or may not be worth a protracted battle.

But if you were in a severe accident that involved an ambulance ride, emergency room visit, diagnostics, surgery, and an overnight hospital stay, you could easily have thousands of dollars in medical bills. It’s worth demanding a high value from the insurance company or at-fault party.

The average cost of an emergency room visit alone is about $1,390 and it’s common for the victim of a severe car accident to end up with $10,000 or more in bills. If the doctors determine that you need surgery or special aftercare, the costs go up, up, up.

This is a big value driver for personal injury traffic accident cases. The medical expenses are a huge component of calculating the total value your personal injury case may bring.

Calculating Your Loss of Earning Power

Another important factor is your loss of earnings. From the moment you’re injured in a car accident, your capacity to earn a living may go drastically down due to physical limitations and the time you need to recover.

Looking back at our earlier example, after a minor fender-bender, you might take the afternoon off work to see the chiropractor and then go back to work the next day. Your loss of earnings is very low.

However, if the accident is so serious that you’re in the hospital for a few days after surgery, you could be out of work for weeks or even months. You may have to stop working while you go to physical therapy and try to restore your mobility. That’s a scary prospect for anyone who needs to make a living.

How long could you afford to go without working? The average person has less than $500 set aside to handle a sudden emergency. And after a car accident, you could even have a permanent disability that reduces your lifetime earning power significantly.

Placing a High Value on Your Pain and Suffering

Finally, there’s the value of your pain and suffering, which is part of what’s known as special damages. Pain and suffering is quite difficult to calculate and usually calls for the help of a personal injury attorney.

Your pain and suffering can be anything from being unable to play with your children to losing your lifelong hobby of playing the guitar or video games. It’s a loss of enjoying life to the fullest as you could before the accident.

Your attorney will help you create a list of compensable damages, spelling out the many losses you have suffered. This puts a proper value on your pain and suffering, but as you can see, it’s no easy task!

Every personal injury claim is unique and it’s hard to say what the average settlement might be. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can start working on your calculation and clarify your claim’s value.

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Video Transcript
How are personal injury claims calculated? That's a tough question and always asked because it's the first thing people want to know. Is it worth it to bring a claim so, if it's not worth much, why would anyone want to go through the trouble of bringing a claim? Calculating a personal injury claim is done by taking a variety of factors into consideration and coming up with a number. It really depends a lot actually on your medical treatment and medical expenses.

For instance, if you were in a small fender bender, and you went to the chiropractor a couple times, your bill might be a few hundred dollars. Well, that will be really important in determining the value of the case. It might only be worth $1,000 or a few hundred dollars. But if, let's say you were in a pretty serious accident and the ambulance showed up, hauled you to the emergency room right away, a lot of diagnostics were done and then they determined you needed a surgery, might need to stay overnight at the hospital, that is going to cost a lot of money. That is one of the big value drivers for personal injury cases. The medical expenses are a huge component to calculating the value of a personal injury case.

Another really important factor would be your loss of earnings. In the first example that I gave, if you were just in a fender bender, you might be able to go to work the next day or maybe you'd take a couple of hours off or something, so your loss of earnings might be pretty humble. But in the other case, you're in the hospital for a few days, you're recovering from a surgery, you might be out of work for weeks, months. Your injuries may even keep you from ever going back to work. So that is another huge component, loss of earnings. And then there are other variety of factors. Those are your general damages which are really calculable, and you can see those on paper.

Another big component would be your pain and suffering, and those are called general damages. Sorry, the prior ones are special damages. General damages are pain and suffering. Basically that's a really difficult thing to calculate and that's where a personal injury attorney can really help. Your pain and suffering could be anything from you are unable to play with your children, lift your children. You might not be able to play the guitar, or play video games or whatever it is you do, if that is affected by your injuries in the accident, that's a compensable item of damages. That's another thing that really helps in the calculation of a value of a personal injury case.

So there's a lot of other little factors, but those are the three real big components that I'd say are how you calculate an injury claim.

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