Can a Personal Injury Settlement Calculator Give You an Accurate Idea of What Your Settlement Is Worth?
If you’re searching for a calculation tool to help you predict how much your case is worth, you’re in the right place! After you enter a few key pieces of information, our calculator will estimate your case value.
Below, start by entering your medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages, which are your economic damages. The calculator will then estimate your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. But we’d like to share a note of caution.
You may have looked at other personal injury settlement calculators on other legal websites too. Just be aware that in reality, most calculators don’t provide accurate case values because they’re based on broad assumptions or are just designed to lure you in.
So before using any calculator, bear in mind that it takes an experienced personal injury lawyer to make a meaningful evaluation of your case’s true value. We’re happy to help you develop a more accurate estimate with a free and confidential consultation!
How Do Lawyers Evaluate Personal Injury Claims?
Spoiler alert! Lawyers don’t use online personal injury settlement calculators. Instead, they do something much more nuanced and accurate than that.
A talented California personal injury lawyer makes a skillful calculation based on three main factors, plus their years of experience handling cases similar to yours. The three key factors in determining the value of a personal injury lawsuit are:
- Who is at fault?
- What are the damages?
- Who should pay?
Let’s look at each of these factors in detail so you can understand their impact on your total case value.
Who’s at Fault?
For personal injury cases, California operates under the law of comparative negligence, which means everyone’s role will be evaluated and their blame will be assigned in proportions. You could have 100% of the blame or none of the blame, or anywhere in-between.
If you’re partly to blame for the accident, your monetary compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. So even if you’re 50% to blame, an award of $1 million would be reduced to $500,000 – which is still a lot of money!
When you use an online settlement calculator, it probably won’t consider comparative negligence. It’s hard for a website to know how much of the blame you have for an accident. You can’t just enter your best guess and expect an accurate result.
In actuality, it’s up to an insurance company, arbitrator, judge, or jury to decide. A personal injury lawyer helps you make a strong case to support your side and get the best chance at a positive outcome.
What are the Damages?
The extent of your injuries is a huge part of your settlement calculation. People with more extensive, life-altering, and expensive injuries tend to get larger settlements. Your medical bills will play a big role in making this calculation.
For instance, in a car accident perpetrated by a drunk driver, the driver can be held criminally responsible for the crime of driving inebriated. It’s up to the police and the courts to handle that party. You can also hold them civilly liable for your injuries through a personal injury claim.
Your injury damages include your past and future medical expenses, lost time from work, inability to do your normal chores, lost enjoyment of your activities, plus any property damage that occurred. Your injuries also include your pain and suffering, which can be extreme after a severe accident but are hard for an online calculator to measure.
Lost wages are another area where settlement calculators go awry. Compare an investment banker who receives a weekly paycheck to a stay-at-home mom who has no wages to report. A settlement calculator doesn’t understand how to properly value a stay-at-home mom’s enormous contribution to her family. The same goes for calculating the earnings of a self-employed person.
Meanwhile, an effective injury attorney can maximize a settlement for anyone, regardless of their job, lifestyle, family structure, or other personal details. Although the numbers don’t always fit into an online personal injury settlement calculator, they’re significant and meaningful in the real world.
Remember, there’s considerable value to the impact of the injuries on your life. If you were a tournament-winning competitive tennis player who will never play again because a distracted driver crashed into you and crushed your arm, that’s a big deal. You can likely claim more damages than someone who just plays recreational soccer on the weekend for fun, for example.
Who Should Pay?
Now let’s look at who should pay for your damages. In the majority of car accident cases, it’s the insurance company that ends up paying. Insurance companies have a vested interest in keeping their settlements as low as possible, so they pay hardball adjusters and high-powered attorneys to minimize their payouts.
Insurance companies are only responsible for paying up to the amount that the insurance policy covers, which is known as the policy limit. Often, the limits of a driver’s insurance policy are much lower than you need to cover all of your damages.
That’s because most drivers are severely underinsured. So your claim may be worth a certain amount, but the likelihood of recovering that amount from the insurance carrier is nil if the policy limits are too low.
But don’t give up! There’s still a way to end up with a high-value result. An experienced personal injury lawyer can determine what other insurance coverage is available or whether other assets might be an option for recovery. This gives a big boost to your total settlement amount.
Getting a Much More Accurate Settlement Estimate
Keep in mind that every jury or arbitrator will view the case in a unique way and make a unique ruling. In many instances, two identical cases with two identical plaintiffs who sustain exactly the same injuries will end up having two vastly different settlements.
In other words, there’s no way to know your exact settlement value in advance and any lawyer who tells you differently is not being truthful. This is why online calculators often give such inaccurate results. They have a nasty tendency of being wildly misleading, either vastly overestimating or underestimating the value of your case.
For these reasons, we encourage you to avoid relying on a simple online personal injury settlement calculator. Almost all experienced and qualified personal injury lawyers offer a free case evaluation, including Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyer. We encourage you to take advantage of it!
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After a personal injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including many kinds of personal injuries. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details. We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.