After you suffer an accident, you might wonder what your personal injury claim is worth
While it is difficult to predict the exact value of a claim without meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the specifics of your case, there are some things you can do to roughly determine the value of your claim.
The total value of your claim depends on the significance of property damages, medical expenses, lost work and other important factors listed below.
Personal Injury Claim Formula
Valuing your claim starts with calculating your medical damages. These are your real medical costs for getting treatment for your personal injury.
In addition to emergency room treatment, it is important to factor in follow-up appointments with your doctor, trips to physical therapy and the costs of devices to help you move such as wheelchairs and braces. If you receive mental health treatment, you can include those costs too.
Why should accident victims wait to accept a settlement until after maximum medical improvement (MMI) is reached? What happens after MMI?
Pain and suffering multiplier
Once you calculate your total medical costs, you can use that number to calculate your pain and suffering. This amount is typically accounted for by applying the amount of your medical costs to a multiplier which, in most cases, is approximately 1.5.
In severe cases involving lifelong suffering or permanent, disfiguring injuries, you can use a higher multiplier. The highest multipliers in the most severe cases are usually around 5.
Lost wages and other economic damages
Next, you add other economic damages. This might include lost pay if you were unable to work because of your injuries. This can also include property damage.
In rare cases, you may be able to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages exist to punish a party for extremely negligent conduct. For example, if the at-fault person or company took a certain action knowing that it was likely to cause injuries, you might be granted a punitive award.
The purpose of punitive damages is to punish bad actors as well as to encourage people and companies to think twice before they undertake actions that are likely to hurt others.
Punitive damages are rare though. If you believe they might apply in your case, you should talk with a knowledgeable attorney about how to investigate your claim and make this request.
If you’ve been injured, you may be entitled to compensatory or punitive damages. But what’s the difference?
Gathering the evidence
To improve your case for getting the full value of your personal injury claim, you should start by documenting your expenses. Even if something is clear in your mind today, it might be hard to remember several months from now.
As medical bills pile up, they can start to overwhelm you. Using a worksheet is a good way to keep all of the necessary information in one place. You can use this worksheet as a launching point to make your calculations.
Comparative negligence might reduce the amount that you recover. Under Florida law, the straight formula for calculating your damages only applies if the other side is 100 percent responsible for the accident.
If you are partially to blame for your injury, you may still be able to recover but your recovery can be reduced by the percentage that you are to found to be at fault for what happened. For example, if you are 20 percent to blame, only 80 percent of the total value of your damages is recoverable.
Getting a personalized value for your claim
No two cases are exactly the same. There may be subtle nuances in your case that can greatly affect the overall value of your claim. Online calculators are a great start, but only an experienced Tampa personal injury lawyer knows how to ask the right questions in order to help you get a true picture of the value of your claim.
At Lorenzo & Lorenzo, we can help you understand how Florida law applies to your case. We can help you avoid any stumbling blocks that might hinder your chances for success. Our attorneys can help you maximize your potential recovery and form realistic expectations about what to expect in your case.