When you’ve been injured in an accident and decide to pursue a personal injury claim, you might wonder how much your case is worth. If you are settling with insurance companies, there is likely a limit on how much a policy will pay out. However, if you are filing a personal injury claim with court, the best way to know how much your case is worth, is to know how much your “damages” are.
WHAT ARE DAMAGES?
Damages is a legal term for the money awarded to a party in a lawsuit based on a monetized calculation of the injuries they sustained. Some injuries are easy to translate into money while others can be a bit harder to monetize.
- Special Damages
The damages that are easily calculable are often called Special Damages. These damages are easy to assign a dollar amount to because they are derived from things like:
- Automobile Repair Bills
- Medical Bills
- Future Medical Bills
- Therapy bills
- Lost wages (calculated from your salary)
Special damages are pulled straight from the actual dollar amounts assigned to your bills. Things are a little less clear when future costs must be calculated, but those numbers can be assessed through expert witnesses (professionals in their field) and past evidence (previous bills, for example).
- General Damages
General damages intend to compensate a party for loss or injury that is not easily calculable. Common general damages include:
- Physical Pain and Suffering
- Mental Pain and Suffering
- Physical Disfigurement/Impairment
- Loss of Companionship
- Lower Quality of Life
HOW ARE GENERAL DAMAGES ESTIMATED?
General damages are often estimated using either the “multiplier” or the “per diem” methods.
- The Multiplier
The multiplier method begins by calculating all the Special Damages (the ones that already have numbers assigned to them) then multiplies that sum by a number between 1.5 and 5. Which number between 1.5 and 5 is used is often hotly debated. But the multiplier should be based upon other factors in the case, including the severity and longevity of the general damages.
- Per Diem Method
A certain dollar amount is assigned for every day from the day of the accident to the day the plaintiff has reached maximum recovery. For example:
- It takes a plaintiff 180 days from the day of the accident to the day of their maximum recovery
- The plaintiff’s attorney assigns $100 to each day
- 180 days x $100 a day = $18,000
- The plaintiff’s attorney will seek $18,000 in damages for their client
HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
Ultimately, how much your case is worth will depend on the specific facts of your case. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, let the law offices of Kamper & Estrada, PLLC do the calculating for you. Our experienced car accident attorney Phoenix, AZ locals trust can help you understand what sort of damages you may be entitled to and will fight to make sure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.