Making sure you get every penny you deserve
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Figuring out how much your accident injuries are worth is a critical aspect of any personal injury claim. It’s the part of a claim that can be hardest to determine, because the amount varies depending on your particular circumstances.
Here is an overview of how insurance companies determine the value of a claim.
When determining compensation, it is usually simple to add up the money spent and money lost, but there is no precise way to put a dollar figure on pain and suffering or on missed experiences and lost opportunities. That’s where an insurance company’s damages formula comes in.
At the beginning of claim negotiations, an insurance adjuster adds up the total medical expenses related to the injury. These expenses are referred to as “medical special damages.” That’s the base figure the adjuster uses to figure out how much to pay the injured person for pain, suffering, and other nonmonetary losses, which are called “general” damages.
When the injuries are relatively minor, the adjuster multiplies the amount of special damages by 1.5 or 2. When the injuries are particularly painful, serious, or long lasting, the multiplier can be as great as 5, or even 10 in extreme cases. The adjuster then adds on any income lost as a result of the injuries.
That’s all there is to the formula. However, this figure is not a final compensation amount. It is only the number from which negotiations begin.
The extent each person is at fault is another important factor that will determine how much the insurance company is likely to pay. The damages formula gives you a range of how much your injuries might be worth, but only after you figure in the question of fault do you know the actual compensation value of your claim — that is, how much an insurance company will pay you. Determining fault for an accident is not an exact science, which is one big reason why you need a qualified and experienced attorney working on your behalf. This information was provided by Jesse Gonzalez of the “J. Gonzalez Law Firm” as a public service announcement. For more information call 1-800-CAR-Crash or visit www.jgonzalezlawfirm.com