Any person who sustains an injury caused by the negligent actions of another individual should be able to recover compensation for their losses. This includes coverage of medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, and pain and suffering losses. However, there are various factors that can affect the total value of a personal injury claim in California. Here, our San Diego injury lawyers discuss what can make an injury claim value go up or down.
One of the most significant contributors to the value of a personal injury settlement is the severity of the injuries. The reality is that medical care can be costly, and it is crucial that no personal injury settlement be finalized until after an individual reaches what their doctor considers maximum medical improvement.
We want to make a point to say that individuals who sustain minor injuries do deserve compensation, but it is unlikely that they will receive significant amounts of compensation for lesser injuries. Those who sustained significant injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord trauma, will be much more likely to receive significant compensation amounts because their medical bills will likely reach into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Many personal injury claims also involve damaged property. Most notably, property damage claims are almost always associated with vehicle accident personal injury cases. In fact, car insurance settlements typically handle personal injuries and property damage simultaneously. In other situations, such as a slip and fall accident, property damage may not be as much of a factor.
Property damage compensation is typically associated with the severity of the accident and the value of the property that needs to be repaired or replaced. A damaged 1999 Jeep Cherokee will likely not bring as significant of a property damage claim as a 2021 Lincoln Navigator.
It is not uncommon for individuals to have to take time away from work after sustaining a personal injury. When this happens, they need to have their wages replaced. How much compensation a person receives for lost wages will have to do with the amount of time they miss from work. In some situations, individuals may not be able to return to work in the same capacity, and they should be able to receive compensation for any lesser income that they have to take that was caused by an incapacity.
Measuring a person’s non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, is more challenging. There are no direct bills or receipts that could be added up to measure the level of a person’s fear, anxiety, stress, sleeplessness, and other types of suffering they may sustain as a result of the injury. Often, attorneys will use a multiplier method to properly calculate non-economic losses.
When using this method, an attorney will add up all of the economic damages a person sustained and multiply that by a set number (usually ranging from 1.5 to 5). For example, if an individual sustains $100,000 worth of economic damages, an attorney may multiply this by “three” to reach a $300,000 non-economic damage total. Overall, an attorney would ask for $400,000 for their client.