What is the Value of Your Suffering?
Personal Injury cases can be a murky legal area. This part of the law is not defined by a set of official codes or statutes like in criminal proceedings but is established case by case. This means that if you go all the way to court you will be relying largely on precedent, which can vary state to state and circuit to circuit.
Most likely you will be sitting across the table from an insurance adjuster, not in a courtroom facing a judge with an attorney on your side. Either way, you will need to be clear about what you deserve and prepared for what is asked of you. Just make sure you have the right lawyers on your side when it comes to car accidents.
Keep All the Records You Can
Hold onto ALL documentation you have from the time period in question. Trust us, this is worth holding onto for reference and potential use in a court case.
If you see a psychiatrist, acquire their notes from those sessions, and also hold onto the billing. If you get diagnosed with something like PTSD from, for example, an event like a campfire, hold onto the medical records.
Any records that matter — unpaid bills from the months you went without work, debts you accrued, doctor’s notes in your files, if you’ve been affected by a certain type of poison (in that case, speak with a carbon monoxide poisoning lawyer), etc.
Get your notes on everything that happened organized and get it to your attorney.
Formulas for Determining Compensation
You can use these methods on their own or combine them — it will all come down to negotiation at the end. Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster will very likely not reveal their method of calculations. Also, a large factor is dependent on your location.
The argument for determining damages on a daily rate is that your suffering has cost you what is equal to the effort of going to work every day. This is more useful when it comes to short-term injuries.
If you earn $50,000 a year that comes out to about $200/day (assuming you work 250 days out of the year). So if you experienced 3 months of pain due to workplace negligence you could say it costs 90 x 200 or $18,000.
It won’t necessarily be where you end up, but it’s a starting point.
Multiplying Your “Specials”
This is a method that involves adding up all of the special damages (which means the evident economic losses) and multiply those by a number between 1.5 and 5.
That number between 1.5 and 5 is called the “multiplier.” If your physical injury is serious and your prospects for a full recovery are low you should start out with a multiplier of 4 or 5. If your case is less serious you might end up settling for a lower multiplier.
This is a typical approach to most situations you’ll face.
Be Careful What You Post!
If there is a period of your life that you claim was marred by excessive emotional distress it does not look good to have pictures of yourself partying and going on happy vacations during that time.
If you want to recover damages, make sure it would be clear before a court of law what the basis for that claim is, and get ready to negotiate.