How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
Personal injury cases are settled every day for a wide variety of reasons and for varying amounts of compensation. Each state has different rules regarding the kinds of compensation available and limits to how much a victim can receive. In California, compensation is typically calculated by considering two types of damages: special and general.
Special Damages Are Easily Calculated
Special damages are usually out-of-pocket expenses and bills that are easily calculated. These can include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Future lost income
- Future medical expenses
- Cost of nursing care
- Cost of rehabilitation
Victims are entitled to receive money to cover these costs directly related to the accident or injury. These damages are relatively simple to calculate, though the insurance company may dispute some amount of future wages and expenses.
What Are General Damages, and How Are They Calculated?
In contrast, general damages may be more difficult to determine. General damages cover intangible losses, including pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consortium.
Insurance adjusters will use a formula to determine a settlement offer. These formulas use a general damages multiplier times the special damages. The multiplier is typically anywhere from 1.5 to 5 and will be higher the more severe the injuries. Permanent injuries, scars and disfigurements, and long recoveries can increase the award even more. This figure is typically the starting point for negotiations.
Additionally, in California, victims may be entitled to punitive damages if it is determined that the responsible party is guilty of “malice, oppression or fraud.” Punitive damages are reserved for extreme cases. A skilled personal injury attorney can help victims negotiate the maximum amount of compensation and determine if punitive damages are possible.
Every personal injury case is unique, and compensation is determined based on the severity of the injuries and the facts surrounding each situation. If you or someone you love has been hurt by the negligence of another person, the Law Offices of Corbett H. Williams can help. Fill out the online contact form for a prompt response from the firm.