When you’re injured in a car accident, you endure many personal and financial losses. A settlement can’t take away your injury and pain, but it’s the best way to compensate you for your losses. As you heal, of course, you want to know how to calculate what the negligent driver and his insurance company owe you.
Injury settlement calculation isn’t an exact science. Results often vary depending on the person evaluating a claim and their access to information. To simplify the process, insurance companies, personal injury attorneys, and juries consider the same factors.
- Economic Damages: The cost of all of your injury-related expenses
- Non-Economic Damages: The value assigned to your pain, suffering, and other non-financial issues
- Exemplary or Punitive Damages: Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) §42.005 allows juries to award exemplary damages when your evidence proves the negligent party was “…guilty of oppression, fraud or malice…
We Begin By Determining Your Economic Damages
Economic damages are the easiest claim component to calculate. You simply add up your costs for medical treatment and income losses. If you are still undergoing treatment, you may need an economic expert to project your future damages for settlement purposes. Here are the most common economic damages.
- Wage and income losses
- Medical treatment
- Mobility devices and structures
- Physical and psychological therapy
- Surgical scar revision
- Medical transportation
- Household services
- Funeral and burial expenses
Next, We Determine Your Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages present a greater evaluation challenge. They are personal to you, and they reflect how you alone perceive your injury-related trauma. The value varies depending on your marital status, occupation, recreational activities, parental status, and other factors.
This portion of your claim considers these and other issues.
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish and distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical impairments
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss to spousal relationships
- Loss of services you would normally perform
We Carefully Document Your Non-Economic Damages
Your experiences are critical to evaluating the non-economic elements of your claim. As the effects of pain, suffering, and personal trauma fade over time, it’s essential to document them as they occur. Your information will help you, the insurance company, or your legal representative understand and evaluate your damages.
A daily journal provides a simple way to document your day-to-day problems. From day one, you should record anything you believe will help you remember your struggles and help others understand them. As you track and evaluate your recovery, consider the following issues.
- Pain and suffering: after your accident and during recovery, surgery, physical therapy, and daily activities
- Pain management: medication, including complementary and alternative medicine
- Residual issues: current pain, impairments, and lifestyle issues
- Permanent and temporary disabilities
- Career/Job: inability to work, lost promotions, job changes due to physical constraints
- Diminished spousal intimacy
- Changes in family relationships
- Inability to accomplish household tasks
We Help You Figure Out What Each of These Factors Means to You
When you’re evaluating your own case, you must assign a dollar value to every issue you dealt with during your recovery. If you feel confident with your non-economic assessment, add your economic damages to determine your settlement amount. No matter what you decide, an insurance company will try to negotiate you down to a lower figure.
Even if you’ve settled a previous injury claim, evaluating an injury claim is usually a daunting task.
Attorneys Have Access to More Injury Evaluation Tools
If you don’t feel confident with your process, it’s a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer. Attorneys follow a slightly different evaluation process based on their knowledge and access to legal research.
- Obtain your medical bills, hospital records, and doctor reports.
- Determine the nature and extent of the injuries, disabilities, and future treatment.
- Talk to you about your post-accident pain, suffering, and recovery experiences.
- Review the law firm’s recent injuries and settlements to determine a settlement range.
- Research court records to review recent court judgments for similar cases.
Insurance Companies Use Additional Resources to Evaluate Claims
By the time you’re ready to settle your claim, the liability insurance company will have its own ideas about value. Of course, they evaluate your medical information and they talk to you about your recovery. If you sustained serious injuries, they also look for other information resources.
- Canvass your neighborhood to ask about your recent activities
- Conduct social media investigations to see what you’re saying and doing online
- Obtain credit checks to determine your financial situation and judge your willingness to settle for a low figure
- Obtain surveillance footage of your activities outside your home
Not All Insurance Companies Evaluate Claims the Same
Insurers have similar investigation techniques, but they use different strategies to evaluate and settle claims. Some use a vintage formula that calls for multiplying your economic damages by a random numerical factor. Others input your injury data into a program and negotiate based on the settlement range it generates.
No matter how efficient and fair you are in evaluating your own claim, the insurer will try to negotiate a lower amount. If you feel satisfied with the outcome, that’s what matters. If you know you deserve a better settlement, you should consider following up with an attorney.
Contact a Nevada Personal Injury Attorney for Help Today
When you’re injured in an accident, a personal injury attorney works from day one to protect your legal rights. At Pacific West Law, we investigate your accident, and we deal directly with the negligent driver and their insurer. Our attorneys evaluate your injury, and when you’re ready to settle your claim, we negotiate fair compensation for your injuries.
To schedule a legal consultation, please visit our contact page and leave a detailed message.