If you’ve been injured in a situation where insurance offers a settlement, it’s likely for the company’s settlement offer was too low. If you’ve suffered a personal injury, it’s hard to quantify all of the losses incurred beyond medical bills.
Put together a personal injury calculator to determine how much you are really owed.
While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to spend weeks or months litigating how much you are owed for a traumatic accident, insurance companies count on you not to. That’s why they’ll often offer a low settlement.
If the results of a personal injury calculator give you something several figures more than the settlement offered, it’s time to call an attorney. Use the following factors to determine how much more you should be owed so that you can be informed when you call your attorney.
1. Does Your Injury Merit a Settlement?
Anytime you’re injured by someone else’s negligence, you are eligible to collect damages related to your injury. As long as it is possible to determine that the other party’s actions were negligent, it is possible to file a suit.
Injuries like slip and fall incidents, car accidents, work-related injuries, or injuries resulting from a manufacturer’s defect are all reasons to file a suit. If you are attacked and they are caught, you can also file a suit against your attacker.
When determining whether the other party owes you a settlement, you must first determine whether or not that person owes you a duty or a certain level of trust. In the case of a car accident, you trust that the other person will stay in their lane and drive carefully.
Next, it’s determined whether or not they violated that trust. In the case of a manufacturer’s defect, you are within reason to assume that a ceiling fan’s blades are made well enough to not fly off and hit you in the head. If this happens due to a manufacturing defect, that’s the fault of the manufacturer.
You must determine that actions by the other person caused the injuries. In the case of a slip and fall, you must determine that the other party made the surface of the floor slippery without telling anyone.
So long as you can then tie these damages to actual harm you’ve dealt with, you should have a case.
2. Add Up Economic Damages
These are actual, measurable results of your accident. Save any kinds of medical bills you receive, including any invoices for assistive equipment or medication. If you anticipate future expenses for physical therapy or continued care, add an estimation to this figure.
You can also bundle these together with any property damage, including vehicular repairs or damage to personal items.
If the accident lead to lost income, calculate how much that figure would be. If you think there will be future lost income or slowed productivity due to the accident, calculate that as well.
These numbers begin to determine how much your settlement should be when putting together your personal injury calculator.
3. Break Out The Calculator
To figure out the extent of the general damages you’ve suffered, you’re going to use some multiplication. This is where your personal injury calculator does its heavy lifting.
Start with your economic damages as your base number. Then rate your general damages on a scale of 1.5 to 5. A higher number means correlates to the permanence and severity of your issues.
This is a subjective process. Consider your amount of pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life or companionship, overall inconvenience, and emotional distress when coming up with your number.
Multiply that number by your economic damages. Add the two numbers together to get the value of your personal injury claim.
4. Subtract If You Contributed
If you were part of the reason for your own injury, you might have to lower the figure of your settlement. If you were in a traumatic car accident but failed to wear a seat belt or crossed the street before the walk sign was lit, you are partially at fault.
For claims where both parties at fault, most states will attempt to calculate the amount of fault. If you were found to be 60% at fault, you would only be eligible to claim that percentage as your total personal injury settlement. In some states, you won’t be able to make a claim at all if you were found to be even 1% at fault.
In Illinois, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you might have a hard time even having a court hear your case.
Have a realistic idea of your own role in the accident before you call. This will prepare you for what to expect when you speak to an attorney.
5. Think About Punitive Damages
If there were particularly extreme conditions for your injury, you can consider your claim to be punitive. These damages function less as a way to compensate the injured than to punish the offender.
These damages are often not calculated so much as capped by a precedent or a number associated with specific types of criminal negligence. These kinds of claims may not require a personal injury calculator.
If you were injured because of a collapsed roof, which the owner knew was at risk of collapsing, the judge and jury might make an example out of the owner. In these cases, where someone consciously disregarded the safety of others, judges tend to rule harshly to deter others from committing the same act.
This is similar in cases of extreme violence or reckless endangerment. The offending party might have sold a dangerous product, knowing its potential harm. This recklessness is characteristic of severe negligence and will allow the plaintiff to claim serious damages in response.
A Personal Injury Calculator Helps Your Claim
Having a figure in mind in advance of your claim can help you navigate potential snags and outcomes to your case. Talking with an attorney can answer any questions you have.
If you’re still trying to navigate your own personal injury calculator, contact us and we can help you figure out your settlement amount.