If you were injured in a car accident, truck accident, or another type of incident, you may be entitled to recover compensation. A lawsuit against the party whose fault caused you to miss time from work and suffer physical and emotional pain would be the method a personal injury lawyer uses to pursue your claim for damages.
One of the first questions that most people have about their personal injury case has to do with its value. Lawyers who practice personal injury law learn how to evaluate the different types of damages in a case in order to determine how much an injured person may expect to recover through settlement or a judgment after a trial.
Types of damages in a personal injury case
Whether injured in a bicycle accident, bus accident, or any type of crash or collision caused by the negligence of another person or entity, the damages that it causes generally fall into two categories: Economic damages, which lawyers also refer to as “special damages; and non-economic or “general” damages.
Special damages include the following:
- Medical bills.
- Cost of repair or replacement of damaged property.
- Wages lost while out of work recovering from your injuries.
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident.
Because they represent actual financial expenditures, bills, receipts, and financial statements can be used to compute and prove economic or special damages. For example, your employer’s payroll records serve as proof of the time you missed from work and the amount of the wages lost while recuperating from the injuries suffered in an accident.
General or non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, present more of a challenge because of the difficulty assigning a value to them. General damages rely on jurors to analyze the evidence and determine what value to assign to such things as:
- Physical pain and discomfort.
- Emotional distress and mental anguish.
- Loss of companionship.
- Disruption to the victim’s daily life.
- Loss of consortium, which refers to how injuries in an accident affect marital relationships.
The inability to calculate general damages caused lawyers and claims adjusters to develop methods to estimate the value of a case.
Formula to estimate general damages
Adding up bills, receipts, and expenditures to arrive at the financial amount for damages you suffered in an auto accident works well for special damages. The same method does not work when lawyers and insurance companies need to calculate what a jury may award for general damages, so most of them use a formula.
A commonly used formula uses the total special damages related to medical treatment for an injured person and multiplies it by a number from one to five depending upon the severity of the injuries and other factors, such as long-term disability, that may exist in a case. Each lawyer or claims adjuster has their own method for using the formula, but they usually add lost earnings to the result of the calculation to arrive at an estimate of general damages.
It is important to keep in mind that calculating general damages represents an estimate or prediction of what a panel of jurors may award in a case. The formula offers a convenient tool for insurance companies and lawyers to use to predict an outcome, but negligence on the part of an injured party contributing to the accident is only one factor that can affect that jurors award.
Rely on an experienced personal injury lawyer
Estimating the value of a personal injury case requires the skill and knowledge of a personal injury lawyer with extensive experience. Find out what your claim is worth by contacting the Clauson Law Firm, PLLC.
Francis Babet loves pursuing excellence through writing and has a passion for Legal. He currently writes for The law Firm, a USA Based Law Firm that provides SSD, SSI, SSDI, Personal Injury, and Drugs and Devices. His work has been published on various sites related to Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income and more.