How Are Personal Injury Damages Calculated?
Posted in Accident Information on January 2, 2021
In personal injury law, damages refer to the amount of money (compensation) you can recuperate for your injuries and losses. The amount you receive in damages is important, as it can determine whether you have enough to pay your debts and move forward after an accident. Learn how the courts in Nebraska calculate personal injury damages for an accurate idea of how much your case is worth. Estimating the value of your claim can allow you to negotiate with an insurance company for a reasonable amount.
The Myth of the “Average” Personal Injury Settlement
Many claimants in Nebraska ask what the average amount is for a personal injury settlement. This amount does not exist. Although you could calculate the average amount among recent settlements and verdicts won in Nebraska, this would not be an accurate predictor of what the average claimant receives, as there is no such thing as the average claimant. Settlement amounts vary widely from client to client. Many factors unique to a case can determine its worth.
- Injury severity
- The length of time it will take for the victim to recover or reach the point of maximum medical improvement
- Whether or not the injury is permanent
- The age and health of the victim
- The victim’s income level
- The extent of the victim’s losses
- Whether the defendant has enough insurance or assets to pay out a settlement
- Liability and comparative fault
These are several basic examples of factors that can impact the amount of personal injury damages awarded to a plaintiff. The issues that affect your specific claim may differ from this list. Some claimants in Omaha have received tens of thousands of dollars or less for their claims, while others have received multiple millions. Rather than looking for an average amount on which to base your claim, take the time to calculate its potential value using the same methods used by insurance companies, judges and juries.
Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
The vast majority of personal injury cases in Omaha settle without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. A settlement comes from an insurance company. After an injured victim files an insurance claim, the insurance company assigns a claims adjuster to review the matter. The claims adjuster will recommend to the company whether or not to accept the claim, as well as suggest an amount the adjuster believes is appropriate for the victim’s losses.
An insurance claims adjuster bases his or her estimate on documents such as medical bills, income statements, repair estimates, letters from doctors and expert opinions. For an idea of what your insurance settlement could be worth, add up all of the bills related to your accident. Don’t forget to estimate your future expenses, as well. This should give you an accurate idea of what your claim is worth in economic damages. Do not settle for less than this from a claims adjuster if less is offered. The insurance company may be offering less than your claim is really worth.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages, also known as noneconomic damages, are more difficult to calculate. You can receive this type of damage award if your injury claim goes to trial in Omaha. Pain and suffering is a category of damages awarded by a jury. This award is difficult to predict due to the fact that a jury has full discretion over how much or how little to grant. Although calculation methods are available, a jury can decide to use these equations or not when determining a fair amount in pain and suffering damages.
For the most accurate estimate of the full and fair value of your personal injury claim, consult with an attorney in Omaha. An attorney will review your case and related injury documentation; then, he or she will estimate your case’s value based on the damages suffered, the severity of your injuries, comparable cases and many other factors. Discuss your claim with an attorney today for more information.