If you are involved in an injury accident, you may wonder how personal injury damages are calculated and what compensation you can expect for your losses. Typically, the at fault party’s liability insurance company will pay the injured person for their medical care and lost income, referred to as special damages. However, an injured party may also receive compensation for pain and suffering, permanent physical disability or disfigurement, loss of family, social, or educational experiences and emotional suffering referred to as general damages. Of course it is far easier to determine what someone has spent on medical expenses and the time they had to take off from work, but it is far more difficult to put a dollar figure on missed experiences or pain and suffering resulting from an injury. That is where the damages formula comes into play.
To determine how much to compensate you for general damages, those that are non-monetary in other words, an insurance adjuster will typically begin by adding up your total medical expenses and multiplying this figure by roughly one and one half to five to arrive at a figure for general damages. The more painful, serious or long-lasting the injury or effect thereof, the higher the multiplier. They will then come to the negotiation table with a settlement in mind that includes a general damage figure and lost wages.
It all seems pretty straight forward until you consider that the adjuster is not obliged to tell you whether they are using a formula or give you any specific details regarding the formula when they are. For the most part you will be in the dark as to how the adjuster arrived at the figure for damages and where you stand on the spectrum of compensation. However, it is helpful to understand that the figure is likely fluid and that an adjuster will almost always start on the lower end leaving room for negotiation.
This is where an experienced personal injury attorney is particularly helpful. An attorney who specializes in injury claims can often negotiate a far more favorable settlement simply because the adjuster is confronted with someone who understands the underlying process. Many injured parties receive far more in damages when they hire an attorney than they will on their own. If you or a family member is injured in an accident, contact the personal injury and workers’ compensation law offices of John T. Hemminger for immediate assistance today at 515-283-2116.
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