At Randall J. Trost, P.C., one of the most frequent questions asked is “how much is my personal injury case worth?” Although the answer seems simple, it is anything but. The final amount reflects not only the damages suffered at the scene of the accident, but also the toll the accident takes on the victim—also known as pain and suffering.
The following are the common types of damages for which you could potentially recover:
- Economic damages – Calculating economic damages is straightforward. You add together the bills and other tangible losses you incurred and will continue to incur as a result of the accident and your injuries. This includes medical expenses, estimated future medical treatment, lost wages, future lost earnings, property damage, and out-of-pocket expenses.
- Non-economic damages – These damages are more difficult to assess because they’re personal and subjective. One way to calculate them is to use a “per diem” rate and calculate the number of days you’ve been in pain and attempt to multiply that by the number of days you actually suffer pain. On the other hand, you can use “the multiplier,” which adds up the economic damages and multiply that by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity and permanency of your injury. Non-economic damages include emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages – If the at-fault party demonstrated an unreasonable amount of negligence for their actions, you can recover punitive damages as well.
So when calculating your personal injury claim, make sure that you keep track of your expenses. The best way is to create an Excel spreadsheet with columns designating the payee, the amount, the dates that bills are due and whether they are paid (whether by you or your insurance company to keep track of reimbursements). You can also scan all relevant bills so everything is kept in a file on your computer.