Personal injuries often bring life-changing consequences. Recovering from or dealing with the pain is only one obvious result. You may also have to deal with rehabilitation, loss of wages from missed work, loss of personal property, disruption of your daily life, stress and worry all weigh heavily on victims. It is the culmination of all of these factors that The Law Offices of G. Wayne Van Bibber & Associates will evaluate when attempting to determine the amount of personal injury compensation to fight for.
Note: We are providing this and other calculators on our website for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Please call The Law Offices of G. Wayne Van Bibber & Associates for more information about your potential claim.
Financial Costs, Bills and Special Damages
Every case is different, however, insurance companies and courts must use a basic equation when determining the payout amount for a Personal Injury Claim. They collect an objective list of all expenses incurred from the injury, then add in the more subjective factors to arrive at the final compensation amount.
The first part of the equation isn't complicated. A sum total of every provable financial expense that was a direct result of the accident or injury is calculated. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Cost of Medical Equipment
- Cost of Medication
- Damaged or Lost Property
- Expenses Paid Out of Pocket
- Hospital Stay
- Lost Wages
- Medical Bills
This gives you a starting dollar amount. These items are the first part of the overall damages. Some courts refer to these quantifiable dollar amounts as Medical Special Damages, Economic Damages, or even just “Specials.” The result of this calculation is easy to prove.
Pain and Suffering – General Damages
The other half of the equation is less definitive and more difficult to quantify because it is not necessarily easy to assign a dollar amount to emotional turmoil and pain and suffering. The term “General Damages” encompasses all subjective suffering that may result from your injury. These General Damages can include:
- Emotional Turmoil
- Disruption of Daily Lifestyle
- Loss of Enjoyment
- Loss of Consortium
- Physical Pain
- Recklessness or Gross Negligence (for injuries resulting from another party)
- and of course, Stress
General Damages Multiplier
General Damages cannot be calculated using bills to create a sum total, so insurance companies and courts turn these General Damages into a Multiplier for their compensation formula.
This Multiplier can vary from 1.5 to 5 depending on the extent of the General Damages. The worse the General Damages, the higher the Multiplier number will be. This will result in a higher overall payout to the victim.
The Compensation Formula generally looks like this:
$Special Damages x General Damages Multiplier (1.5-5) = $Total Compensation Paid
If Janet suffered from an accident where the provable sum total of her expenses equaled $24,000, that means that her Special Damages number is $24,000.
If Susan suffered nightmares about the accident, plus the emotional distress over driving again, plus she missed out on a possible work opportunity, and her injuries prevented her from enjoying her relationship with her spouse and family, that may earn her a General Damages Multiplier of 2.5.
Susan's Compensation Formula would be:
Special Damages x General Damages Multiplier = Total Compensation Paid
$24,000 x 2.5 = $60,000
Every Case Is Different
It is important to understand every case is different – and less reputable insurance companies will not divulge they are using a formula to calculate your payout. It may work to your benefit to have this information, but NOT share it. In so doing, the other party will not know if you value your own multiplier the same as they would.
This calculator is for informational purposes only. Please call The Law Offices of G. Wayne Van Bibber & Associates for more information about your potential claim.