Every personal injury case is unique in its own way, with varied circumstances surrounding each accident and the damage caused by it. Calculation of your settlement amount depends on the specific circumstances resulting in your injuries.
Conclusively arriving at the exact figure fairly representing your expenses can be quite difficult, there being no set formula to calculate the precise amount. It, therefore, becomes imperative to gain knowledge about putting value to your recovery costs, including medical bills, lost earnings, property damage, and emotional trauma.
Instead of relying on the insurance adjuster’s personal injury calculator to determine fair compensation for your injuries, read on to find how to figure out your personal injury claim’s real worth.
How Do I Find Out the Actual Worth of My Injury Claim?
Insurance companies categorize your losses or expenses due to your personal injuries in the following two broad types:
Economic Damages or Actual Expenses
Also referred to as special damages, this is the sum total of all the money that you have spent or will spend, to recover from injuries and damage caused in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct. In New York, these damages typically include:
Calculating Economic Damages
To calculate economic damages, you will need to add all your actual expenses resulting from the injury. The sum total of your actual expenses forms the basis of personal injury settlement amount calculations.
Medical bills are an essential part of your injury claim. You must ensure that you include every medical bill in full, regardless of whether your health insurance plan covered some or all the medical costs during your treatment.
Do keep in mind that there are some medical services involving multiple bills, such as X-Rays, CT, and MRI scans. These imaging tests usually carry one bill for use of the imaging equipment and another for the interpretation of test results by a doctor. Similarly, hospital emergency rooms send a bill from a physician who treated you, as well as a separate bill from the hospital for using their emergency department.
Non-Economic Damages or Intangible Costs
Also known as general damages, these are the intangible losses or expenses you may have incurred or will incur in the future, to recover from injuries and damage caused in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct. Non-economic damages in New York personal injury cases usually include:
Calculating Non-Economic Damages
It is slightly more difficult to determine and put a precise value on non-economic costs pertaining to personal injuries and damages in the absence of objective measurement of a victim’s suffering. Every personal injury case is unique, and one accident victim’s pain and suffering cannot be similar to another’s.
Even when two individuals sustain the same injury, their path towards recovery can be quite dissimilar to each other. The same injury may push one towards depression, while the other may be able to carry on living a normal life without getting overly affected.
To calculate the intangible damages of your injuries, multiply the sum total of your tangible expenses by a number between one and five, to arrive at an estimated value of your pain and suffering. Insurance companies generally accept a multiple of one or two for mild or moderate injuries.
However, in case of severe injuries, you must seek legal help from an experienced personal injury attorney to get a fair compensation amount for your pain and suffering from the insurance company.
Primary Factors That Affect Personal Injury Settlement Claim Calculations
Major factors that can influence personal injury settlement calculations are:
Insurance Policy Limits
When the value of your personal injury compensation claim is higher than the limits available in the at-fault party’s insurance policy, you will probably be left with no choice but to file a civil lawsuit for recovery of the difference from the at-fault party.
The insurance adjuster will, more likely than not, try to pin a part of the blame on you, for the circumstances surrounding your injuries. New York operates under a pure comparative fault law, thus allowing a New York court to reduce the amount of compensation awarded in proportion to your degree of fault.
Excessive Medical Bills
The insurance company adjuster will allow only reasonable and proportionate medical expenses. If they find pumped-up medical bills with unnecessarily excessive treatments and tests, the adjuster can strike down those from the claim amount calculations.
The claims adjuster may be willing to settle a claim by paying more in locations where they know that juries lean towards injury victims and tend to award claims liberally.
Considerations for a Higher Personal Injury Settlement Amount
Calculating non-economic damages is highly subjective and entirely personal. The nature and extent of emotional trauma are different for each individual, and only they can assess the true intensity of their own pain and suffering.
The real challenge in a personal injury claim lies in trying to convince the insurance company to settle for what you think is the true value of your suffering. Some of the grounds for you to claim a higher than usual settlement amount may include:
Excessive Mental Trauma
You can claim higher compensation if the severe nature of your injuries causes you extraordinary emotional anguish. If you feel the need to seek professional help for your mental health issues, it will be easier to back your compensation claim.
Permanent injuries, such as amputations or scarring, and persistent pain from wounds or invasive treatments can support higher settlement claims.
If you suffered injuries in a horrific accident, such as a plane crash or shooting, it can support a higher damages calculation.
Presenting Your Settlement Demand to the Insurance Company
Your compensation demand is the amount that covers your expenses due to your injuries and is a fair payment for other damages and your pain and suffering. Calculate your economic and non-economic damages, and prepare an estimate of your claim by adding these together. The sum total is the amount of your settlement demand.
Once you and your New York City personal injury attorney have put an appropriate value on your claim, you will need to prepare and present a written demand in order to initiate settlement negotiations with the insurance company. You will also need to gather supporting documentation to back your demand, including medical records, witness statements, photographs, and other evidence.
During the settlement negotiations process, your lawyer must stress the following points with the insurance company:
Insurance Company Adjusters and their Negotiation Tactics
You will find an insurance claims adjuster very rarely agreeing to accept your initial compensation demand. They will go over your initial demand with a fine comb to review the evidence presented by your attorney and see how you arrived at those figures.
The insurance adjuster will carefully scrutinize the supporting documentation for your tangible expenses and closely examine the evidence that holds the defendant liable for your injuries. You can be sure that their appraisal of your pain and suffering claim will lead to a different conclusion than your demand.
The quintessential part of any settlement negotiations involves your personal injury attorney being able to convince the insurance claims adjuster about your claim calculations and the supporting evidence.
How a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney can Increase the Value of Your Claim?
Compensation claims involving minor to moderate injuries are easy to handle directly with the insurance company. Claims adjusters prioritize settlements, and would not want to face a lawsuit and its accompanying expenses over an uncomplicated injury claim.
In a court trial, there are chances of a jury awarding damages that are much higher than the original settlement amount demand. This is precisely the reason why you would need the guidance of a proficient personal injury lawyer, who has the skills required to negotiate a fair settlement, or failing which, aggressively fight a court battle on your behalf.
Most professional personal injury attorneys will offer a case review with an initial free and confidential consultation. It will be in your best interest to seek legal counsel from an experienced New York attorney.
Top-Rated Personal Injury Law Firm Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP Can Help You in New York
If you are the victim of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing and wish to seek maximum possible compensation for your damages; personal injury attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, are here to help and guide you.
Our New York City personal injury law firm, founded in 1922 by trial attorney Gustave G. Rosenberg, continues its unparalleled devotion to helping people in the aftermath of a serious accident recover the compensation they need to move forward and restore their lives.
For a free case review with a skilled personal injury attorney, call us today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online.
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