Calculating Compensation for Car Accident Injuries
We are often asked by clients ‘how much is my case worth?’ It’s not a simple question to answer. Although some damages, like past medical bills are clear, others are not so easily quantified meaning putting a value on car accident injuries in Virginia can be difficult. There is no such thing as a personal injury calculator in Virginia.
There are two main elements of a personal injury claim. One is economic damages, and the second is pain and suffering damages. A personal injury claim involves adding up past medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, and wages likely to be lost in the future. Then, pain and suffering element is added to totaled economic damages. The amount awarded for pain and suffering may exceed the amount given from the other losses. Virginia courts may also add punitive damages in certain drunk driving cases. This is additional money intended to punish the at-fault driver.
Although medical bills and lost wages can add up to a significant amount, pain and suffering damages typically make up the largest chunk of a personal injury recovery. Insurance companies actually have computer programs that give pain and suffering a dollar figure. However, there is no guarantee a jury will abide by these formulas if a case makes it to a trial, therefore, it is important to work with an experienced car accident attorney.
Key Elements in Calculating Injury Damages in Virginia
When you talk to a lawyer about your personal injury case, they won’t be able to give you an exact figure for what your case is worth. However, two key elements indicate the potential value of a case.
The Extent of the Injuries
An accident victim who suffers a permanent brain injury due to the fault of another driver will be entitled to more money than a claimant who suffers a whiplash injury that lasts a week. Both past and further medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering are higher in the first case and the victim may have substantial ongoing medical care needs.
Available Insurance Coverage
If you are hit by a driver carrying minimum insurance coverage, you may end up with little money to pay your medical bills. However, multiple insurance policies are available in some cases. At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we seek to identify as many policies as possible to maximize recovery.
Factors Considered in Calculating Economic Damages
Several key elements are added together to work out a damages claim in personal injury cases. These include both economic and noneconomic losses.
An attorney can calculate the sum of lost income related to your accident. If you used benefits like time-off because you were injured, a dollar sum will be factored in, you can still be entitled to recover for the time you missed from work.
Future Lost Income
A projected calculation of how much money you stand to lose in the future due to injuries from an accident is added to the equation. Future lost income is more prevalent in serious injury cases.
Medical bills are totaled up after an injury. Avoid trying to settle with an insurance company while you are still being treated for an injury. You face losing money.
Future Medical Expenses
If you are likely to have recurring medical issues from your injury that require treatment, your Virginia injury lawyer will factor in the likely cost of future medical expenses.
Calculating Compensation for Pain and Suffering and a Multiplier
In calculating pain and suffering, insurance companies often work with multipliers of up to five times your medical costs. After serious injuries, the multiplier may be even higher.
The Colossus Computer Program
Many of the large insurance companies use an automated formula to calculate pain and suffering. The Colossus computer program, for example, is used by companies including Allstate to estimate total injury claims. These are plug-in systems that pay little regard to the claimant’s personal circumstances.
Programs like Colossus are intended to drive down payouts and protect the insurance company’s bottom line. Insurance companies often multiply the total of medical bills by a number between one-and-a-half and five to calculate pain and suffering.
Of course, a computer program is not well-equipped to accurately measure pain and suffering. Programs like this fail to take into consideration factors like emotional trauma from a car accident.
When a Higher Multiplier is Necessary
In its pain and suffering calculation, the insurance company will likely use a multiplier one-and-a-half to five times your medical costs. Certain factors may justify a higher multiplier. They include:
- Severe pain associated with your injuries;
- Injuries that cannot ever be successfully remedied;
- A prolonged recovery time and ongoing pain;
- Suffering permanent consequences like disability, scars, disfigurement, psychological issues or concentration and memory problems associated with a brain injury.
- Doctors warning your condition is likely to worsen in the future due to the accident.
Get Help Putting a Value on Car Accident Injuries in Virginia
Personal injury calculations are notoriously complex. There is no simple method of assessing overall damages after an accident. You lose money if you try to fight the insurance company alone. Every case is unique and you should discuss your circumstances with a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers.
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