Calculating the dollar value of a personal injury claim can be difficult. Since the circumstances of each case are different, there is no set formula attorneys can use for every case. However, our attorneys always consider certain factors when determining the value of a personal injury case.
What factors might affect the value of a personal injury case?The same accident can result in different injuries for different people involved in the accident. Seemingly identical injuries can take a longer or shorter amount of time to heal in any particular person, based upon a multitude of factors. An injury from which one person might make a full recovery can cause permanent impairment or disability in another person. These and many other factors will affect the value of your personal injury claim.To determine the value of a personal injury case, we identify all the factors, evaluate the circumstances, and apply an informal “yardstick” to determine an appropriate range for the settlement amount.There are three “yardstick” methods we might use, depending on the circumstances of the case: multipliers, a per diem rate, and the BASE formula.
Insurance adjusters use multipliers to determine what the total value of your case is. Depending on the cost of your accident, the adjuster will use a multiplier to determine how much you should receive in pain and suffering damages.
In most cases, lower medical bills have a lower multiplier. For example, if your medical bills were $10,000, the adjuster might use a multiplier of two to decide your case value. If your medical bills were $25,000, the adjuster might use a multiplier of 2.5 or three. The use of a lower multiplier is because lower medical bills often mean less pain and suffering.
A valuation method that uses a “per diem” rate assigns a dollar value for each day that you were in pain. Insurers often base it upon your income, which many argue is inappropriate, as it can devalue a person’s pain and suffering just because s/he does not make much money. A person who makes $250,000 a year does not necessarily hurt five times as much as a person who makes $50,000 a year.
Nonetheless, if you make, for example, $50,000 a year, your gross income per day is $200 per day, using 50 weeks per year and 5 days per week. If you were hurt 12 weeks as a result of the accident, your pain and suffering settlement amount would be $12,000.
The BASE (Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation) formula uses four different multipliers:
- 2 for low value
- 3 for core value
- 3.5 for mean value
- 4 for premium value
To determine a range of total settlement amounts, the adjuster would total and multiply the economic losses against these four multipliers.
The adjuster then evaluates other factors unique to the case. These factors will determine which of the four multipliers the adjuster will use for the final calculation. These are factors that would cause a jury to be sympathetic, such as disfigurement, the age of the injured person, and the medical treatment the injured person had to endure.
What should a personal injury claim settlement include?To determine the value of your personal injury claim, our lawyers will look at how your injuries have impacted you. We will ensure your settlement includes:
- Medical bills from the day of the injury, any immediate medical treatment, follow-up treatment, therapy, rehab, long-term care, therapy, etc.
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property loss or damage/repair
- Long-term impairment or disability
- Short-term or long-term disfigurement
- Pain and suffering