If you get hurt in an accident resulting from another person’s action or inaction in Philadelphia, you may be eligible for compensation. The first step to recouping the rightful compensation is filing a claim with the at-fault party or their insurer.
The success of a claim is dependent on whether or not the value of its settlement is sufficient to cover the damages suffered by the victim, which makes determining the claim’s value a critical part of the process.
If you are in the process of determining how much your claim is worth, keep reading to understand how to go about it.
You May Need to Get a Lawyer
If your injuries are just a few bruises or cuts, determining the value of your claim could be straightforward and may not require a lawyer. But if you suffer catastrophic injuries, determining your claim’s value can be quite a challenge.
A day or two after being in an accident, you may receive a call from the defendant or their insurer seeking to settle. Taking that offer is the worst mistake you could make.
Insurers know the layman’s lack of information about valuing their claims and often use that to their advantage. It is best to involve an injury lawyer to avoid getting into a bad deal. If you live in Philadelphia, Wieand law firm Philadelphia can help establish the value of your injury claim.
How a Lawyer Determines the Value of a Claim
An injury claim is not a get-rich scheme, meaning you cannot just assign a figure to a claim; you must back the figure with facts.
The most significant factor in determining the value of your claim is the damages suffered. Under criminal injury law, damages fall under three main categories; economic/special damages, non-economic/general damages, and punitive damages.
Calculating economic damages is pretty straightforward because it involves all financial costs resulting from an accident, such as:
Cost of treatment.
The cost of treatment includes things like hospitalization, prescription medicine, and walking aids. Determining the cost of treatment requires proof such as receipts for payments made and should account for past, present, and future costs based on the treating doctor’s prognosis.
Lost wages also fall under economic damages because they are quantifiable in monetary terms. Like medical costs, determining lost wages involves calculating past, present, and future wages while factoring in yearly increments and retirement.
Non-economic damages involve pain and suffering whose value is not quantifiable in monetary terms. Pain and suffering include the physical pain associated with the injury, psychological distress, disfigurement, loss of life’s enjoyment, etc.
Lawyers and insurance companies apply different formulas to determine the value of pain and suffering damages. The most common method is using a multiplier.
A multiplier approach takes any figure between 1.5 and 5 multiplied by the value of economic damages. The figure obtained becomes the value of non-economic damages.
Whatever value your attorney uses as the multiplier is not final and is open for negotiation with the opposing side. Therefore, it is always essential to assign a higher figure to allow room for negotiations.
The courts have the power to award punitive damages on top of compensatory damages if an accident that caused a person’s injuries resulted from malicious conduct or gross negligence. As the name suggests, they are awarded as punishment to the defendant and can run into millions.
The standard of proof required by a judge in order to award punitive damages is pretty high, so unless there is solid evidence to prove malicious intent, punitive damages are not worth pursuing.
An example of conduct that could attract punitive damages is when a drunk driver causes an accident resulting in death or injuries.