How Damages Are Calculated In Personal Injury Cases
If you have been in an accident and sustained injuries through no fault of your own, you may be facing a mountain of medical bills and other expenses that may put a serious dent in your financial health. To receive the compensation you deserve for your damages and losses, the personal injury attorneys at The McCallister Law Firm recommend you work with an experienced personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will help build a strong case on your behalf and will help you understand what damages you are entitled to and how they are calculated. Read on to find out more about damages in personal injury cases.
What Types of Damages Are You Entitled To?
In a personal injury claim, you are entitled to two different types of damages, punitive and compensatory. Compensatory damages are awarded to, as their name implies, compensate the victim for the actual losses suffered. They are divided into economic and non-economic damages.
On the other hand, punitive damages are usually awarded only in cases where the defendant was particularly negligent or reckless. They are also referred to as exemplary damages and their objective is to punish the negligent party in order to discourage them from repeating these actions in the future and also to make an example of them so that others will not engage in the same behavior. They are not awarded in every case, but only when the situation warrants it.
What Are Compensatory Damages?
Compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages typically include:
- Expenses related to your medical treatment and recovery
- Estimated costs of future medical treatments or rehabilitation
- Wages, bonuses, or commissions you could not earn while taking care of your injuries
- Future lost wages should you be unable to return to work
- Costs to repair or replace any property that was damaged
- Rental car expenses
- Funeral expenses when the victim has died
The value of these damages is easy to add since every item you are claiming can be backed up by a bill, a receipt, a pay stub, a bank statement, or others. If you keep a detailed file of all of your expenses related to the accident, your attorney can get a clear picture of your economic damages.
Non-economic damages are much more difficult to calculate since they refer to intangible items. They may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Diminished quality of life
To come up with an amount that will accurately cover the non-economic damages in your case, your attorney will consider different factors. In general, this will depend on issues like:
- The type of injury you sustained
- The extent, severity, and permanency of your injuries
- The duration of the medical care you receive and will be receiving
- The impact these injuries have had on your daily life
- Aspects of your life you no longer enjoy
There is no magic formula to determine a fair amount of all intangible damages following a personal injury. Attorneys generally use a variety of techniques to get the maximum recovery for their clients, particularly when it comes to items that go beyond medical bills.
Your attorney may use a multiplier, which is a number between 1.5 and 5 and use it to multiply your medical expenses and come up with an amount for non-economic damages. A higher multiplier is a reflection of the severity of your injuries.
Once you add all your economic and non-economic damages, you will know the value of your case although what you end up receiving may be impacted by the limits of the insurance policy.