If you have been in an accident, you must be thinking of filing a personal injury claim. One common question that arises before making a claim is, “what is the worth of a personal injury?” Different factors determine its value. Each state’s laws differ regarding personal injury. You need to know about the specific state law to get the most for your compensation and recovery.
If you want to inquire about personal injury in California and how to calculate its worth, keep on reading. We have also discussed tips to maximize your settlement claim and the benefits of working with a personal injury lawyer.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury means when a person suffers from physical, mental, or financial damage caused by another party. According to tort law, or personal injury, in California, an injured person has the right to file a lawsuit against the guilty parties, demanding compensation for the damages and losses springing from an accident.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Following are the different situations where tort law rules apply:
Personal injury laws are applied in a situation where an individual acts negligently and carelessly, causing harm to another individual(s). It includes vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall incidents, wrongful death, etc.
Personal injury laws are applied in a situation where an individual’s intentional and purposeful conduct brings harm to others. It includes cases of battery, assault, fraud, trespassing, etc.
Personal injury rules are also applied when a product, be it a consumer product, vehicle component, pharmaceutical, medical device, etc., is defective or hazardous. The lawsuit falls into the category of product liability.
Suppose an individual’s defamatory remarks or slander harms someone. In that case, they are eligible to file a personal injury case against the guilty party.
Types of Personal Injury Damages
After filing a personal injury claim, if you legally prove that the guilty party’s negligence instigated harm and damage, they are liable to compensate you financially. Depending on the nature of the injuries, personal injury claims can be made regarding the following types of personal injury damages in California:
Economic damages, also known as special damages, include the provable monetary losses as a result of an accident, such as:
Medical expenses include money spent on an injury’s diagnosis and treatments, including hospital visits and bills, surgery costs, ambulance fees, lab and testing services, prescription medication, nursing care, rehab therapy, and follow-up appointments. Any future medical expenses and maintenance for your injuries are eligible for financial compensation.
Property damage includes any harm caused to your property, such as a house or car, due to an accident or any other incident.
Lost income means the earnings you have lost by missing work because of your injuries.
Future Lost Income
Future lost income estimates the financial loss expected due to missed work because of injuries.
Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, include non-financial and subjective losses such as:
- Suffering and pain
- Emotional distress
- Mental suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
These general damages are subjective because it is difficult to standardize or place a monetary value on them. What may be painful for one individual might be more or less painful to another; hence, financial compensation varies case by case.
Punitive damages are considered punishment for the at-fault party. They are awarded when the defendant’s behavior is negligent and reckless in a personal injury case. For instance, the guilty driver was influenced by alcohol or drugs.
Suppose you are confused in accurately identifying all the damages you can be compensated for. In that case, a personal injury lawyer can better help you calculate the total financial value of both special and general damages.
Calculating Personal Injury in California
After or before filing a personal injury claim, one may wonder how to calculate personal injury worth in California. Predicting the exact worth of a claim can be challenging, especially without a tort attorney. However, some factors can help you figure out the value of your injury claim in California.
The total personal injury claim value depends on the economic and non-economic damages due to an accident or incident. Insurance providers and attorneys use a mathematical formula to determine an estimated value of a personal injury claim.
A typical formula is where the intensity of medical damages and suffering, a multiplier, is added to the total expenses of all the damages that occurred.
(Multiplier) x (Medical Expenses + Property Damage + Lost Income + Punitive Damages) =
Total Approx. Worth of a Personal Injury Claim
Economic damages are relatively easier to quantify. In contrast, general or non-economic damages, which include mental anxiety, physical discomfort, stress, etc., are tricky to put a value on. Therefore, a multiplier, typically ranging from 1.5 to 5, is used to establish an estimated amount. The multiplier is decided through a mutual discussion between the victim and the defendant.
Let’s look at an example to help you better understand how the formula works:
A woman named Trisha has been injured in a car accident. The cost of her medical bills has amounted to $1,100, and fortunately enough, there are no permanent injuries. There is also a lost income of $500. To calculate her personal injury worth, medical expenses and lost income ($1,100 + $500 =$1,600) will be added and multiplied with a multiplier, ranging from 1.5 to 5.
If the multiplier is set to 2.5, then (2.5 x $1,600) the total approximate compensation for Trisha’s injuries will be $4,000. This settlement amount can be negotiated based on the opposing party and other factors.
What Are the Factors That Can Affect the Multiplier?
It is important to note that many different factors affect the value of the multiplier, which affects the total personal injury worth. The multiplier can be higher or lower depending on the severity of the injuries, amount of medical treatment received, lost income, recovery, etc.
Factors That Lead to a Higher Multiplier
- Injury to the body’s hard tissues
- Broken bones
- Serious injury to the head, nerves, and spine
- Serious injury to the joint that may need surgery or reconstruction
- Medical expenses include treatments, hospital visits, long-term or short-term medications, recurring follow-up appointments, etc.
- Permanent injuries, including loss of mobility, scars, stiffness, or weakness
- Longer recovery period
- Daily life disruptions, including missed school or work due to the injury
- Emotional distress and suffering because of the injury
Factors That Lead to a Lower Multiplier
- Injury to the body’s soft tissues, which includes muscle sprains, strains, the ligament pulls, and bruising
- Medical diagnosis expenses instead of treatment expenses
- Need for physical therapists or chiropractors instead of doctors
- No medication expenditures
- Shorter recovery period
- No permanent injury
- No permanent loss of mobility
- No permanent disfigurements
- No or less emotional distress and mental suffering because of the injury
Some Other Factors
The details mentioned above are not the only factors determining the worth of your injury settlement. After considering and analyzing the multipliers, the involved parties look into the strength and weaknesses of a case.
If your personal injury case is strong, there are better chances of getting a higher settlement. Following are the few factors that strengthen a case:
- The accident is not your fault
- Presence of witnesses supporting your claim
- The opposing party does not show any signs of sympathy or remorse
- Your professionalism during the entire settlement process
But if there are any weak points or loopholes in your injury case, the settlement will probably be lower. Following are the few factors that might weaken your case:
- The accident is partially your fault
- Lack of witnesses or credible evidence supporting your claim
- The opposing party show signs of sympathy and remorse
- Your unprofessional and impatient behavior during the entire settlement process
Tips For Getting the Maximum Value for Your Personal Injury Claim
When you file a personal injury claim, you want to compensate for the maximum amount. Here are a few tips that ensure you get the best value for your claim:
Having concrete evidence greatly helps maximize your compensation. Therefore, preserve as much evidence as you can to support your claim.
Set a Specific Amount
Before filing a claim, set a specific compensation range in your mind. This helps amidst the back and forth of counteroffers as you will know your bottom line.
Get Medical Treatment
If you require medical treatment, get attention as soon as possible without worrying about the extent of your injury or the cost of the treatment. If there is medical expense damage, you’ll be offered a higher figure.
Negotiate the Offer
Do not accept the first offer laid out on the table. Instead, negotiate the offer till you reach your set amount range. During these negotiations, do not explain every fact, again and again, just the most vital elements in your favor.
Emphasize Your Emotions
While negotiating, mention any emotional details that would support your claim. For example, note if your injury has affected your ability to take care of your children. This can help emphasize your suffering and settle your claim well.
Put the Settlement on Paper
If you have reached a settlement for your injury claim, write it down immediately. This will confirm the agreement, so the opposing party can’t deny any claims later.
Consult an Attorney
If you feel like you might not be able to maximize compensation or the whole process seems overwhelming, consult a personal injury lawyer. An attorney’s help is crucial, especially if you demand compensation for severe injuries and pain, future damages, and more than a few thousand dollars.
How Can Personal Injury Lawyers Benefit You?
Going through an accident and suffering from a personal injury can be stressful and overwhelming, primarily due to others’ negligence. Moreover, filing a claim and understanding legal procedures on your own can be further tiresome. That’s why you require the expertise of a lawyer. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can relieve you of your burdens, so you take care of yourself while they manage your case.
Below are a few of the benefits of a personal injury lawyer:
Personal injury lawyers have adequate knowledge of tort law. They are experts in working cases such as automobile accidents, workplace incidents, medical misconduct, slip and fall incidents, and wrongful death. Furthermore, they can handle legal procedures, including filing a claim and documenting your injuries.
A competent personal injury lawyer will collect evidence, examine witnesses, assess medical records, verify your liability, etc. In short, they seek to meet all the requirements to construct a strong case for your claim.
Time And Money Saving
Many injured victims speak for themselves through trials and settlements, which can be time-consuming. Working with an injury lawyer can help you save time and money. It’s best to handle the law navigation to the professionals so that you can focus on other things instead.
A personal injury lawyer provides you with ample guidance, making decisions easier. They can counsel you concerning the best course of action, how valuable your claim is, how you should proceed, etc.
Maximized Claim Value
When filing a personal injury claim, you can ask for a settlement based on special damages such as medical expenses or lost income and general damages such as mental distress or emotional suffering. A skilled lawyer knows the accident’s impact on you and establishes a value based on that, maximizing your claim to cover any long-term medical bills, future lost wages, etc.
Compassion and Support
Handling a personal injury can be emotionally exhausting, leaving you stressed and drained. A skillful injury attorney not only oversees the legal technicalities but also provides support and compassion to you so you don’t feel alone and worried.
If You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer in California…
Phoong Law is ready to guide and assist you in your personal injury claim. Our skilled attorneys understand the intricacies of your legal case best, offering straightforward suggestions and directions while striving to get a deserving compensation.
To learn more about personal injury law in California or to request a free consultation, call us at +1 866 468 7246.