How To Calculate a Personal Injury Claim
If you have been injured due to negligence or wrongdoing you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering. Medical bills are one thing, but when it comes to calculating something like pain or suffering in terms of dollars the details can get a bit hazy.
So how do personal injury claims get calculated?
There are two types of damages that apply in personal injury cases: special damages and general damages.
Special damages are those losses and expenses that are quantifiable or can easily be assigned a monetary value. Special damages include damage or loss of property, medical bills, loss of wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
General damages, on the other hand, can be more difficult to put a value to, since they refer to damages that do not have a price mark or receipt. General damages include emotional or mental trauma, physical disfigurement, and loss of quality of life, among others. General damages are also commonly referred to as pain and suffering.
When calculating your personal injury claim you will want to take into account both types of damages to ensure you are seeking the full compensation to cover your injury and the resulting ramifications.
Special damages are easy enough to calculate, but what about the general damages side? The most common method for calculating a personal injury claim is known as the multiplier method.
To do this, simply calculate your special damages—add up all your medical bills, wages you missed out on while out of work, any loss of property, and any other out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a direct result of your injury. Then you multiply this number by a number 1.5 through 5.
Inevitably, calculating general damages requires a hearty dose of subjectivity. The multiplier is intended to account for this. Generally, the number you select to multiply by your special damages is dependent upon the specific factors of your injury like the severity of your injury, the apparent degree of fault on the part of the defendant, and the effects on your mental state and daily life, among other things.
can help you make the best calculation based on your injury. They can help collect evidence and use their expertise to determine an appropriate amount.
Remember, the number you come up with will ultimately be a ballpark number. In matters of personal injury, there’s never any clearcut answer, and the settlement process is very much a negotiation. Your attorney will likely go to the defendant with a number and they will come back with another. Your attorney will continue to negotiate to get you the money you deserve. If a settlement cannot be agreed upon by both parties then the case will have to go to court and a jury will determine the settlement to be paid, based on their own examination of the evidence.
Do I Have To Go To Court For a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury can alter your life greatly, taking up time and money. It can weigh on you physically as well as mentally. If you have been the victim of a personal injury, you deserve compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured. But does that mean you will need to appear in court on top of everything else?
It’s a question we get asked by our clients a lot. The short answer is—it depends. A personal injury claim must be initially officially filed with a court, but an attorney can do this on your behalf. However, there are a number of steps and negotiations to go through before a hearing will be necessary, at which point it is likely you would need to appear to give your testimony.
In many personal injury cases, the defendant will hope to settle before the claim goes to court. They will want to deal with the issue as quickly as possible, while spending the least amount of money.
This is why it’s so important to have an experienced New Orleans personal injury lawyer on your side. Not only can they file the initial claim in court for you, but more importantly they can help you navigate the negotiations process effectively and intelligently.
At Bloom Legal, we fight to make sure our clients get the full compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering. We understand the impact a serious injury can have on a person’s life, their family, and their wellbeing, and we believe your settlement should fully reflect that impact. Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many cases where insurance companies or lawyers for the defense try to lowball the settlement, and individuals end up getting paid less than they deserve.
According to the law, once you’ve accepted a settlement for a personal injury case you cannot seek further compensation, even you later realize you did not receive enough. Far too many people who try to represent themselves in personal injury cases end up taking settlements for less than they deserve. With our experienced attorneys on your side, you can rest assured we will fight for every penny you are due.
If the job cannot get done in negotiations, we will take the claim to court. We will represent you whenever possible, but you would likely need to appear at least to give your testimony. We understand that it is not always easy to appear in court—for example if you suffered your injury while vacationing or away from home. We will communicate with you and provide whatever accommodations we can to make this as easy as possible for you.
Have You Been the Victim of an Injury Due to Negligence or Wrongdoing?
If you have been injured you may be entitled to compensation contact the knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Bloom Legal today. Our lawyers will fight to get you the full compensation you deserve. Our experience and our commitment to our clients makes us unique amongst other lawyers.
We will deal with the insurance companies, collect evidence, negotiate for a settlement, and more. Let us take care of your case. You focus on your family, getting well, and getting back to your life.
Can I File a Personal Injury Claim On Behalf of a Child?
When a person is injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, the injured person may be entitled to compensation for their suffering.
But what happens when the injured person is a child or minor under eighteen?
Legal adults eighteen years of age or older must bring a personal injury claim on behalf of themselves. However, when a minor is involved the parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of the child.
As with all personal injury cases, the sooner you secure an experienced personal injury attorney the better. Your attorney can assist in everything from negotiations with insurance companies, to gathering evidence, to representing you in court.
The nuances of personal injury laws involving minors will vary from state to state. Your attorney will also be able to assist you in navigating the specifics of the local law.
If you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been injured, you have likely incurred a lot of expenses. Between medical bills and potentially missing work to care for your child, these expenses can add up quickly.
When bringing a personal injury case on behalf of a child, the parent or guardian—as well as the child—may also be entitled to compensation.
What If a Child Is Deemed as the Cause of an Accident?
In some cases a minor may be accused of or deemed the cause of an accident.
In most states, children under the age of seven are not considered responsible for accidents they may have caused. This is because a young child is not seen to have the same awareness of their responsibility as an adult. They simply don’t know better, and cannot be held responsible for the law by accidents or injuries they may have caused. However, if it can be shown that parent’s negligence or wrongdoing contributed to the accident, the injured party may seek compensation from them.
In the eyes of the law, most teenagers are deemed responsible for their actions, even if they are not legally an adult. Particularly when a minor is driving a car, they are held to the same standard as an adult in terms of responsibility for their safety and the safety of others.
However, in some cases the financial responsibility may still fall to the parents or guardians. If they own the vehicle, and a minor is involved in an accident in it, then the parents/guardians or their insurance company will usually be held fiscally responsible.
In some cases, minors may be held responsible for due compensation once they turn 18 and legally become and adult and start earning their own money.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim
When a loved one dies unexpectedly or in an accident the surviving family may seek compensation for damages stemming from their death.
Successful wrongful death claims must prove two things:
- That the death of the loved one was a direct result of negligence or wrongdoing by another person or persons; and
- That the surviving family of the deceased has had their life directly impacted, emotionally and financially, as a result.
Some situations where wrongful death claims may be filed are following car accidents, medical malpractice, and injuries on the job.
Wrongful death claims seek compensation for damages such as medical bills, funeral costs, loss of wages, loss of quality of life, and more.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
The person filing the claim and seeking compensation is known as the plaintiff. Only certain people may file a wrongful death case, and these stipulations vary by state. A personal injury attorney can instruct you as to who can file in your state.
In Louisiana, the plaintiff in a wrongful death case must be the spouse or child of the deceased. If the deceased has no spouse or children, then their parents may file. If there are no parents, the siblings of the deceased may file. If there are no siblings, then the grandparents may file.
In each case, the plaintiff must be able to prove that their life was directly impacted by the death of their loved one. Loss of quality of life may be more difficult for grandparents of the deceased to argue convincingly than it would be for, say, the deceased’s children.
Additionally, each state has a statute of limitations. This refers to the limited amount of time one has to file a wrongful death claim following the death of their loved one. Generally, statutes of limitations range from one to three years, depending on the state.
In Louisiana, the statute of limitation is referred to as prescription. For wrongful death cases it is is one year from the date of death.
The Steps of a Wrongful Death Claim
Filing a wrongful death suit can be a complex and sometimes drawn-out procedure. You want to make sure you have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Choosing the right lawyer can have a huge impact on your case and how it goes.
Make sure that your lawyer actually practices personal injury law. There are many different types of law, and typically lawyers specialize in one or a few. You wouldn’t want to hire a bankruptcy lawyer for a personal injury case any more than you’d hire a plumber to work on your roof.
Your lawyer can help you file your claim, gathering the appropriate documents and filing with the court. They will research and compile evidence surrounding the death of your loved one.
Once your initial claim has been filed the defendant—the person, persons, or organization you are seeking compensation from—will be notified. They will hire their own representation, and insurance information will likely be exchanged.
Dealing with insurance companies can be a hassle and a half to say the least. Your attorney can and should represent you in most dealings with the insurance company.
Insurance companies may often attempt to lowball their early offers for settlement. Once a settlement is agreed upon, the plaintiff may not seek further compensation for the same claim, even if they later realize they did not receive an appropriate settlement. Knowing this, the insurance companies and lawyers for the defendant will employ strategies to save as much money as possible on their end.
If both sides can not agree on a settlement during negotiations, then you and your lawyer will have to sue, and take the defendant to court to get the compensation you deserve.
At this point, documentation will likely be requested and compiled, and depositions may need to be collected. You will likely need to appear as a witness and give your testimony before a jury if the case makes it to court.
However, as with many personal injury cases, wrongful death cases often don’t make it to trial. Most defendants and/or their insurance companies will want to settle out of court, saving time and money. The sides may reach a settlement at any point prior or leading up to trial.
This is another reason it’s so important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. They can navigate the negotiation process most effectively, ensuring you are allotted the full settlement you deserve, whether before trial or through it.
Have You Lost a Loved One Due to Negligence or Wrongdoing?
At Bloom Legal, we understand that losing a loved one can be an emotionally traumatic and often life-altering event. You will likely have to not only take care of yourself, but your loved ones as well, your finances and wellbeing. However, if the death of your loved one was due to negligence or wrongdoing on the part of another, you should not be denied compensation for your pain and suffering.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Bloom Legal will fight for you. We will engage the insurance company on your behalf, collect evidence and file in court. We will negotiate to make sure you get the money you deserve, while you focus on what’s most important—being with friends and family, grieving and healing.
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Posted by: Zachary Klos