Valuing Your Personal Injury Claim
Suffering any injury, regardless of the source, can turn a person’s life upside down. If someone else is responsible for the injury, the aftermath can feel even more unfair. Once such an injury occurs, retaining the services of an experienced Miami personal injury attorney can be crucial to receiving reimbursement for these costs from the responsible party. In some cases, usually a result of hearing stories in the news about personal injury settlements, injured individuals may dream up grandiose visions of great amounts of money as a result of a potential personal injury lawsuit, which happens, but are the exception. Rather, determining the value of a personal injury claim may produce more realistic expectations of the amount the victim is likely to receive. Unfortunately, this determination process is, in some cases, the deal-breaker as to whether a personal injury claim is worth filing. By way of example, an individual was killed on I-95 in Palm Beach County. When death is involved, valuation of a personal injury claim – more accurately known as a wrongful death matter – can be relatively high, making it more likely to pursue a legal solution.
Types of Damages
When determining the value of a personal injury claim, it is important to understand the types of damages that may be compensated. Typically, the following categories represent the damages available to an injured plaintiff:
- Economic damages, such as past and future lost income, medical and (if applicable) funeral expenses, lost support and services, the replacement value of lost personal property, the loss of any real property, the cost of construction repairs, and any other loss that would not have occurred but for the injury; and
- Non-economic damages, such as stress, embarrassment, depression, strains on family relationships, anxiety over the effects of an accident on an unborn child, and interference with sexual relations.
Obviously, economic damages are relatively easy to quantify, at least compared to non-economic damages. A more complex and amorphous concept is trying to value the non-economic damages. This is primarily because these damages cannot be proven by a receipt or some objective concept. For example, pain and suffering refers to the physical pain and mental distress an individual endures after suffering an injury. Since everyone’s threshold for pain differs, a value of pain and suffering would vary for each individual. Generally, non-economic damages are quantified according to one of the following methods – the multiplier method and the per diem method.
Using the multiplier method, a party will add up his/her economic damages and then multiply the sum by a number between 1.5 and 5. The number is variant depending on the severity of the injuries, with the lower number representing minor injuries and the opposite being true for serious injuries. Once the multiplier has been established, the non-economic damages can be quantified.
In the per diem method, an individual establishes his/her non-economic damages according to a daily rate by ascertaining his/her income in a single day and then multiplying that number by the number of days that his/she is suffering from the pain caused by the personal injury.
Obviously, it makes sense to persuade the judge or jury to accept the higher amount. In any event, speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney can help not only ascertain which amount will result in higher compensation, but also how best to persuade the judge or jury to accept the amount.
Seek Legal Advice
If you were injured as a result of the negligence, and you are curious about your options, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pita Weber & Del Prado. We handle a wide variety of personal injury claims, and will use this expertise to your advantage, especially when it comes to determining the value of your injury. Contact us today for an initial consultation.