Over the last couple of decades, Americans have gotten a reputation for suing frequently. However, the reality is that Americans really don’t sue all that often. A lawsuit is a big step that people only use when they really need it.
You might think that you’ll never be one of those people who needs to sue. However, things can change quickly. If you get injured, you might start thinking about a bodily injury claim to help offset the expenses and damages. A personal injury calculator will help you know what you’re entitled to.
A personal injury lawsuit is a big deal. Before you start the proceedings, it’s helpful to know what to expect. In this guide, we’ll give you what you need to start calculating the settlement you might get. Keep reading before taking the next steps!
How Personal Injury Settlements Get Calculated
First, let’s take a look at the personal injury settlement process.
When you get injured in certain situations, such as in a car accident or on the premises of a business, you’re often entitled to compensation for that injury.
Most of the time, an insurance policy will come into play to cover the cost of the settlement. That way, you won’t need to pursue your lawsuit in court, which is more time-consuming and expensive for all parties.
To calculate your damages, you’ll need careful documentation of every aspect of your claim. Then, you can use that information along with a personal injury calculator to know what you’re likely to get.
You’ll need pay stubs and records of missed work days, medical bills, estimates of property damage, and any other relevant information to make your calculations.
It’s fairly easy to crunch these numbers. However, calculating damages, such as emotional stress or pain and suffering, gets more challenging. To calculate these amounts, a concept called a “multiplier” comes into play.
Using the Multiplier
The multiplier takes the number of your measurable, economic damages. Then, it multiplies that number by a certain factor to estimate your other, non-measurable damages.
On average, multipliers tend to be around 1.5. However, you can have a multiplier from about 1 up to 5, depending on how severe your case is. For example, if you only had minor injuries, you’ll probably have a multiplier near 1. But if your injuries were debilitating, the multiplier could be closer to 5.
Creating Your Personal Injury Calculator
Your personal injury calculator starts with the economic damages. Careful record-keeping will make it easy to calculate exactly what those damages are.
For example, in a car accident case, you can total up your medical bills due to the accident. Then, you’ll add the value of damage to your car, such as the cost of repairs and replacement. Next, calculate your lost wages thanks to missing work for recovery. This will give you a fairly accurate economic damages number.
Next, you’ll need to consider your multiplier. This number is more difficult to figure out, but a few factors will have an effect. Here are some of the things to keep in mind as you work to figure out your multiplier.
#1. Lower Multiplier Situations
When your injuries are less severe, your multiplier will be lower. But that severity can manifest itself in a number of ways.
First, if you had only the original injury but no residual problems, you likely will have a small multiplier. If your medical treatment focused more on diagnosis than on treatment, that will also bring the number down. Also, if your treatment wasn’t given by an M.D., that can lower it.
The shorter your treatment and recovery time, the lower your multiplier will be. If you had bruises or sprains, or other soft tissue injuries, you won’t need as much compensation. And if you didn’t need medication, that will also lower the multiplier.
#2. Higher Multiplier Situations
Now, let’s take a look at what can make your multiplier higher.
If your injury causes you to need long-term care or impacts your everyday life, you’re entitled to a higher rate of compensation. This can include depending on people in new ways, or not being able to do the same activities that you used to.
Missing out on important life events, such as vacations or studying, also raise your multiplier. The longer your recovery time, the more compensation you should get.
Serious injuries that have high multipliers can include traumatic brain injury, broken bones, loss of the use of a limb or other body part, nerve damage, and more. If you need surgery or lots of follow-up appointments, you’ll have a higher multiplier, too.
#3. Other Factors
You can use the information you have to calculate your multiplier estimate. However, keep in mind that some other factors can affect the final number you end up with.
First, the way you handle the proceedings will get factored in. If you’re calm, rational, and organized, it will be easier to get a fair payout.
You’ll also need to be able to prove your claims. This can involve having credible witnesses or other forms of documentation. It also means having thorough documentation of your medical care and other related factors.
If you were not at fault for the injury in any partial way, you’ll get more compensation. And if you had pre-existing medical issues that could have contributed to the problem, that will lower the compensation amount.
Using This Personal Injury Calculator Wisely
As you can see, there’s no one single formula that you can plug the numbers into to get your settlement amount from a personal injury calculator. You’ll need to make an educated guess based on the information you have.
The settlement could end up being more or less than what you expected. A professional personal injury lawyer can help you make a more accurate guess for your settlement amount.
Once you get your settlement, you’ll also need to use those funds wisely. Need some financial planning tips? Don’t miss this post.