After an accident, injured victims may seek compensation from the responsible parties. California law allows for monetary damages to be negotiated by the victim, responsible parties, and their personal injury attorney. This is commonly referred to as an out-of-court settlement. If a settlement can’t be reached, the case may go to trial. However, most California personal injury cases settle without ever going to trial.
Calculating a Settlement Amount
Unfortunately, California law doesn’t provide a specific formula for determining the amount you’re owed. Instead, personal injury damages are calculated based on expenses and payment for pain and suffering.
When estimating a settlement amount, many insurance companies and attorneys use a math formula to estimate the value of an injury. This is often used as the starting point for negotiations. Three numbers are typically used to make these calculations which include medical damages, special damages, and general damages.
You are entitled to full reimbursement of medical damages. Generally, this includes doctor visits, x-rays, medications, and ambulance costs. When calculating medical damages, insurance companies and attorneys will use the total amount billed – even if the medical bills were covered by insurance.
A personal injury attorney can help you calculate damages for past and future medical expenses. To claim compensation for past medical expenses, you must prove that the cost is reasonable, that the expense was a medical necessity, and that medical treatment was received.
To recover future medical damages, you must prove that the medical treatment is reasonably priced, reasonably necessary, and reasonably certain that treatment is needed in the future.
Special damages are usually simple to calculate. Common items to include in the calculation are lost wages, sick or vacation time used during your recovery, costs to replace or repair damaged property, and any other expenses incurred because of the injury. If the injury requires you to be moved to a lesser paying job or will prevent you from being promoted to a better job, you may also get compensated for lost future earnings.
General damages are intangible losses and can be difficult to calculate. It can be complicated because there is no evidence such as receipts to calculate these losses.
Pain and suffering are one the most common type of general damage. This includes both physical and mental pain suffered by the victim. Victims can also experience other types of pain including shock, humiliation, worry, anxiety grief, and embarrassment.
Factors to consider when assessing the possible value of general damages include the severity and nature of the injury, the amount of pain experienced, length of recovery, and the amount of disruption of your life.
Once you’ve calculated the general damages, add in the special and medical damages to arrive at a starting point for your negotiations. Our personal injury attorneys have years of experience calculating this amount and can help you get the maximum compensation for your settlement.
Speak with a California Personal Injury Attorney Today
Understanding how much your case is worth is important so you can get the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. Our experienced attorneys have help clients all over Los Angeles obtained the maximum settlement possible. We offer all clients a No Win No Fee policy – that means if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay us anything. Contact our office today for your free legal consultation.