Determining the value of your personal injury case can be tricky at best. A number of factors go into it, including the following:
- The seriousness of your injuries
- What, if any, long-term effects will they have on your life and lifestyle
- The extent of medical and therapeutic care you will need, now and in the future
- The length of time you will have to take off work to recover
- The amounts that insurance companies in your area pay for injuries such as yours
- The amounts that juries in your area award for injuries such as yours
Per Diem Calculation
One way to calculate the approximate value of your case is to use the per diem method. Here you assign a value, such as $100, for each day from the date of your accident to the day you attain your maximum recovery.
Another calculation that likely will give you a more reasonable estimate of the value of your personal injury case is called the multiplier method.
First you add up your economic damages. These include such things as the following:
- Ambulance fees
- Emergency room fees and charges, such as for triage, diagnostic tests, emergency treatment, etc.
- Inpatient hospital fees and charges, such as for surgeries, prescription drugs, etc.
- Occupational therapy, physical therapy and other rehabilitative fees and charges
Once you total these expenses, you then multiply that amount by an arbitrary figure, usually between one and five. The multiplier you use will again depend on the seriousness of your injuries. For instance, you might use a “1” for a “simple” broken arm, but a “5” for a catastrophic injury, such as one resulting in blindness or the amputation of one of your limbs. The figure you arrive at represents your noneconomic damages, i.e., those for such subjective losses as the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress and anguish
- Loss of your self-esteem and self-worth because you now have disfiguring scars or need to use a wheelchair or other assistive device to get around
- Loss of your ability to fully perform your daily functions, such as getting in and out of bed, bathing, dressing, eating, and a myriad of other things you formerly did without thinking twice about it
- Loss of your ability to participate in the sports and activities you enjoyed prior to your accident
- Loss of your enjoyment of life as a result of these drastic changes
Next you add your noneconomic damages figure to your economic damages figure and also add in your lost wages of salary. According to the lawyers at Cohen & Cohen, the resulting total represents the approximate value of your personal injury lawsuit.
Keep in mind that both your economic damages and your lost wages damages should include a reasonable estimate of your future costs and losses, not just those you’ve already encountered.