What Is Your Case Worth? Personal Injury Settlement Calculator
“One of the most important pieces of information you need before filing a lawsuit is the value of your case.”
One of the most important pieces of information you need before filing a lawsuit is the value of your case. When you know the value of your case, you know what you can expect from a jury.
But more importantly, you know when an insurance claim adjuster has made a fair offer. The number of personal injury cases that go to trial is only around 4%. The vast majority of cases that do not go to trial are settled.
Without knowing how much your case is worth, you will not know when you should accept a settlement offer instead of litigating. Find out how lawyers value injury cases and how you can estimate the value of your case with our free accident and injury settlement calculator.
Settlement Of An Injury Claim
The compensation you recover in a personal injury settlement will be based on the damages that you could receive from a lawsuit. In other words, insurance companies settle when they can pay a settlement that will be acceptable to both parties. You and the claims adjuster will use the extent of your damages to determine the range of a fair settlement which will be proposed to you.
Let’s use an example. A claims adjuster may calculate that you could reasonably win between $25,000 and $35,000 at trial. You may work with a lawyer who provides a personal injury settlement calculator that estimates your damages at between $30,000 and $45,000.
“The compensation you recover in a personal injury settlement will be based on the damages that you could receive from a lawsuit.”
For insurance companies, the incentive to settle comes from the unpredictability of juries. Insurance companies prefer to avoid going to trial because juries are often more sympathetic to accident victims than they are to insurers. This can result in large damage awards against insurers.
For accident victims, the incentive to settle comes from the time it takes to litigate an injury case. By settling, you might resolve your case in months rather than years.
Damages in an Injury Case
In order to recover damages in an injury case, you must prove that the other party was at fault and that you suffered harm as a result of their negligence.
Settlement amounts will vary depending on:
- Severity of your injuries
- Economic impact of your injuries
- Amount of pain and suffering you endured
Unlike some other states, Arizona does not cap damages in injury cases which means that you can seek compensation for all your economic and non-economic losses.
Whether you use an accident settlement calculator or consult with an injury lawyer about the value of your case, your damages will consist of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages in an Injury Case
“The goal is to award an amount that will allow the plaintiff to maintain their standard of living despite the harm they have suffered.”
Economic damages are awarded to reimburse the victim for financial losses that have arisen as a result of their injuries. In order to recover economic damages, the victim must be able to demonstrate that their injuries have caused them financial harm.
If the victim is unable to work or has suffered a permanent disability, economic damages can also compensate for the loss of their earning capacity.
To estimate the amount of compensation that will be paid for the accident, economic damages are entered into an accident settlement calculator. There are a number of examples of economic damages that are usually associated with injury claims.
In this section we will discuss some of the most commonly encountered types of economic damage.
Economic damages cover past and future medical expenses for your injuries. Medical expenses include all charges for medical treatment, physical therapy, and medication.
If you win or settle your case, you will use the settlement to pay off any medical liens. Depending on your health insurance provider, you may also need to reimburse your health plan for benefits paid to medical providers for your injuries.
There are many factors to consider when calculating economic damages for lost income. The first step is to determine the individual’s current earning capacity. This can be done by looking at their past earnings, education, and job history.
Once the individual’s earning capacity is determined, the next step is to calculate the amount of lost income. This includes both lost wages and benefits, such as healthcare and retirement savings.
Your economic damages also include wages you lost due to your injuries. For example, you could claim lost wages if your injuries forced you to:
- Miss work
- Switch to light duty
- Quit your job
Economic damages also include future lost wages. As an example, suppose your doctor has recommended ten months of physical therapy before you can return to regular duty. You can claim ten months’ worth of the difference between light-duty wages and regular duty wages.
Finally, settlement calculators can help to determine the value of lost earnings. These calculators take into account inflation and other factors to provide a more accurate estimate of damages.
Diminished Earning Capacity
Diminished earning capacity with wages is economic damages that a court may award to a plaintiff who has suffered an injury that has impacted their ability to earn a living. This type of damage is meant to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of earnings they have experienced as a direct result of the injury, as well as the future loss of earnings they are expected to experience.
The goal is to award an amount that will allow the plaintiff to maintain their standard of living despite the harm they have suffered. For example, if you suffer permanent injuries, you may need to change jobs. You can include any difference in wages with your economic damages.
For example, suppose your back injury from a car accident forces you to quit your construction job and take a job in a retail store. You can claim the difference in earnings for the rest of your life.
In order to calculate diminished earning capacity, courts will consider:
- Plaintiff’s age
- Work history
- The nature of their injury
Non-Economic Damages in an Injury Case
People who have suffered serious injuries lose more than their earnings; they lose the enjoyment of life, the fulfillment and value they receive from living. These are considered non-economic injuries.
The term “non-economic damages” refers to those damages that do not involve money, such as compensation for pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional distress, loss of social interactions, and loss of enjoyment of life.
“People who have suffered serious injuries lose more than their earnings; they lose the enjoyment of life, the fulfillment and value they receive from living.”
Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages do not cover medical expenses of the victim. Compensation for this type of injury may be difficult to quantify depending on its degree of severity.
If you negotiate or litigate your case, you will need to present some evidence of your non-economic damages. The claim adjuster or jury will use that evidence to arrive at your non-economic damages. The following are some of the non-economic damages that you can claim.
The Issue of Pain
Your quality of life can be profoundly affected by physical pain, which is hard to quantify. In an injury case, there are different types of pain that may qualify as non-economic damages.
For example, you may experience physical pain, which is the sensation of discomfort or soreness in the body.
Alternatively, you may also experience numbness, tingling, or even an overwhelming feeling of discomfort. The pain may be constant, or it may come and go. It may be a dull, constant pain or it may radiate.
Regardless of how big or small your pain is, it’s very important to document your pain. Keep a file or a folder that keeps:
- A record of your pain medications
- Records from consultations with your doctor regarding your pain
- Any records from the hospitals where you received your treatment
Suffering and Anguish
Non-economic damages can include mental anguish that arises as a result of your accident or as a result of your injuries, as well as physical injuries. Some examples include:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
You can also use your medical prescriptions for anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, as well as therapist notes and records to prove your suffering.
Inconvenience or Loss of Activities
You may find it difficult to do the things you want to do every day as a result of the inconvenience caused by your injuries, or you may require assistance to perform those tasks.
For example, friends and relatives can testify that they have to drive you to doctor’s appointments, dress you, and cook for you to support your claim for non-economic damages.
Your injuries might also prevent you from participating in activities for work or leisure. Witnesses can testify that you cannot play with your children, shop, or exercise. Your non-economic damages can cover these losses.
Estimating Your Damages
While various factors can influence your case, a free settlement calculator can estimate your total damages based on your economic damages. There is usually a correlation between higher economic damages, particularly medical expenses in the past and future, and greater non-economic damages. This is because more severe injuries imply greater pain and suffering.
To get a more accurate estimate of your damages, you should consider meeting with an experienced injury lawyer. The lawyer can review the facts of your case and provide a valuation of your claim including both your economic and non-economic damages.
Maximize Your Settlement With Goodnow McKay
We are committed to fighting for the best outcomes for our clients with accident and injury claims. Our attorneys have many years of successful experience pursuing compensation for clients who have suffered personal injuries in a variety of different cases.
Getting the settlement you deserve for your accident and injury case can be completed quickly and effectively if you contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.