If you haven’t met with an accident attorney, you may be wondering how much your case is worth. The value of your Personal Injury case generally depends on the following factors:
Total Medical Bills
By adding these four factors together, you should arrive at a figure close to the value of your case.
Your Total Medical Bills includes the reasonable and necessary expenses of bills you incurred to treat for injuries related to your claim. The terms reasonable, necessary and related mean that the bills only apply to injuries sustained in the current accident. This means that the insurance company isn’t obligated to pay for treatment for any injuries unrelated to the current accident.
Medical bills also include future medical bills that are related to the current collision.
Lost Wages is the amount of money that you did not earn because of your injuries following the collision. As with your medical bills, you are entitled to claim loss of earnings in the future if you can prove you will not be able to work, or if your earning capacity is reduced.
General Damages is usually called “pain and suffering.” It is more difficult to estimate as there is no objective way to measure your pain. Factors to keep in mind for your general damages include inconvenience, emotional distress, pain, suffering, lowered quality of life, grief, anxiety and humiliation. These losses can also include future damages.
There are methods to demonstrate to the insurance company the extent of your pain and suffering to estimate the value. Generally, people tend to multiply the total medical bills times 3 to estimate a value for pain and suffering. This isn’t how skilled injury attorneys calculate damages, but it’s easy for the lay person to understand.
One of the things we advise people to do after a collision is to keep a calendar or a journal and each day write down where they hurt, and how bad. For instance, a really sore neck might be recorded as “right, rear neck pain close to shoulder, 8/10.” The numeric is a scale of ten with 1 being no pain, and 10 being severe pain. Keeping this calendar will help your attorney get you more money later.
When adding up your total damages you should arrive at a number that represents a fair amount to settle your case. However, there may be other factors that affect your settlement, so do not be surprised when the insurance company does not give you what you think is fair.