If you are considering filing a personal injury claim against a negligent individual who hurt you in an accident, you may wonder how much compensation you can get to cover all your medical expenses and other losses. Broadly speaking, the amount of your compensation would depend on the particular damages or losses you incurred and how much they have impacted your life.
How Much Can I Recover from a Personal Injury Claim?
The dollar amount or value of your damages is the sum of all the losses that resulted from your injuries. In accident injury claims, these typically include physical damage to your person and property, as well as emotional effects of the accident.
When you calculate these damages, you should consider the value or cost of:
- Medical expenses, which can include doctor’s bills, medications, emergency services, medical treatments, diagnostics tests, etc.
- Earnings lost because of compromised work performance or missed time at work
- Inability to work in the future because of your injuries
- Pain and suffering, including mental anguish, loss of life enjoyment, loss of companionship, permanent disfigurement or disability, and/or mental or emotional problems
The court may likewise award punitive damages to punish the negligent party, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Can I Receive Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages compensate for physical and/or emotional distress sustained from injuries. These damages compensate injured victims for the negative effects that their injuries had on their quality of life. This means that damages for pain and suffering are very subjective and will vary greatly from one case to another.
For example, if the accident caused permanent damage to your physical appearance, such as extensive scarring, then you have the right to seek pain and suffering damages. Similarly, pain and suffering could include psychological issues that developed because of the accident and injuries, such as depression, mental anguish, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others.
Bear in mind that damages for pain and suffering are different from medical expenses and other related bills. Pain and suffering, also known as general or non-compensatory damages, serve to financially help injured victims manage their mental, physical, and emotional pain. On the other hand, we refer to damages for medical bills and other financial losses as special, compensatory, or monetary damages. These reimburse injured victims for their medical expenses and other bills relevant to their injuries they had to pay out-of-pocket.
Specific Factors That Could Affect Compensation Calculations
The majority of personal injury cases result from motor vehicle accidents and slip and fall accidents. But they can likewise result from medical malpractice, product liability, birth injuries, and dog attacks, among others. For most people, this means negotiating with insurance providers to seek compensation for accident injury claims.
Specific factors could dramatically impact calculations for injury compensation from insurance providers, including:
- Disproportionate Medical Expenses – Insurance providers will only pay for necessary and reasonable medical bills. It will be up to injured victims to prove that the damages they’re seeking for their medical costs are proportionate to their injuries.
- Insurance Coverage Limits – When the value of the claim is higher than the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits, the injured victim will need to file a claim against the liable party to make up for the difference.
- Shared Fault – Insurers are notorious for trying to shift a portion of fault on an injured victim or even try to shift the fault for the accident entirely.
- Venue – Insurance companies typically prefer settling out of court in areas or locations where juries are more likely to favor injured victims over insurers.
How Insurance Companies Come up With Settlement Amounts
Rarely will insurance companies agree to an injured victim’s initial demand for accident injury compensation. Their insurance claims adjusters will thoroughly review the demand to determine how the claimant came up with the amount and if the evidence presented matches the claim. Next, the adjuster will investigate the accident to determine whether their policyholder is really at fault for the accident and double-check the demand for the legitimacy of the damages the claimant is seeking.
For pain and suffering damages, the claims adjuster will have to compare the demanded amount to what they consider commensurate and appropriate. This means that the adjuster’s evaluation of a claimant’s pain and suffering would always differ from what a claimant is asserting. It will be up to claimants to prove that the pain and suffering damages they are seeking are reasonable and completely supported by proper evidence.
It is also crucial to note that many insurance carriers use computerized calculators, such as the Colossus, to see if they can save money on injury claim compensation. This calculator designates values to damages and utilizes various factors, including average amounts for similar claims in the area and whether the claimant has legal representation to calculate compensation amounts.
However, there are plenty of variables that could unjustly reduce a claimant’s compensation, including errors made by the individual when using the calculator. Likewise, personal injury calculators are just not capable of measuring the depth and severity of a person’s pain and suffering. They also cannot calculate the negative consequences that an injury may have on a person’s life. Additionally, calculators generalize compensation amounts according to statistics, and statistics simply cannot measure real human suffering.
Protecting Your Rights and Accident Injury Claim
To get the most out of your accident injury claim, there is no substitute for fighting for your legal rights. If you are thinking of seeking compensation through a claim, consider contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
Being represented by a lawyer before you sit down and negotiate with the liable party’s insurer is best because the insurer will definitely attempt to settle the claim for as low as possible, especially if they know that you don’t have a lawyer.