Personal injuries involve complex components such as pain, suffering, emotional turmoil, long-term physical disabilities, and loss of a previous quality of life, among others. For these reasons, it is difficult to put a price tag on your compensation. While many online calculators may claim to be able to give you an exact value, they will never be as accurate as they could be. And that’s because only a professional attorney can look at the circumstances in your case, your injuries, property damage, and long-term costs and tell you what to expect.
However, there are some factors that you could and should consider when determining how much your personal injury claim is worth.
- Lost Wages. If you missed work due to your injuries, the total amount should be included in your settlement. In addition, you need to consult your physician to help determine if and to what extent your injuries will impact your ability to perform your job in the future. If you will be unable to work, you must calculate your yearly wages multiplied by the number of years left until your retirement (or whenever you planned to stop working a public job).
- Loss of Activity. Oftentimes, a personal injury not only affects your ability to perform your job duties, it also changes how you perform daily activities, such as cutting the lawn, changing the oil in the car, going grocery shopping, or vacuuming the carpet. In many cases, you will need to hire someone to do these things for you during your recovery, and potentially for the rest of your life. Calculate this labor cost and add it to your settlement value.
- Medical Bills. While most people have some form of health insurance, there are likely to be co-pays, non-covered items, and deductibles that need to be met in order to receive proper medical care. You may also need to calculate the cost of visiting a psychologist or counselor to deal with the added stress and with adjusting psychologically to the changed circumstances of your life.
- Travel Expenses. You should also include transportation costs to and from medical appointments, the drugstore, and your lawyer’s office.
- Lawyer Fees. Keep in mind that your lawyer may receive a percentage of your settlement as compensation for trying your case. Add these fees to the total sum of your settlement also.
- Phone Calls. When involved in a personal injury case, you are likely to find it necessary to make and receive many phone calls. Log these calls and include them in the cost of your settlement.
- Pain and Suffering. The best way to determine a dollar amount for your pain and suffering is to consider the seriousness of your injuries and to what degree they affect quality of life and the nature of your relationships. Keep in mind that the amount collected is payment for pain and suffering from the time of the accident, until you take your last breath.
Calculating the total monetary value for your personal injury case is often a difficult task, but these tips can help to serve as a guideline for arriving at a figure.
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Still, the best way to arrive at a solid number is to talk to an attorney.
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