If an accident caused by someone else’s negligence injured you, you’re likely dealing with everything from physical pain to emotional trauma to the stress associated with trying to figure out how to pay for your medical care and other costs. The good news is that you can seek compensation for all these things and any lost income you’ve suffered. But the big question is, How much for a personal injury settlement can you collect?
Determining your claim’s exact value can be difficult. However, understanding what a settlement comprises and using our average personal injury settlement calculator formulas can help. These settlement calculator methods can give you a rough idea of what you might expect.
What Kind of Damages Can I Ask for?
Insurers and courts usually divide damages into two categories: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages include economic damages or reimbursement for tangible losses and non-economic damages, which are more subjective losses. Conversely, punitive damages punish the defendant for causing harm. Compensatory damages are available in all personal injury cases, while courts only award punitive damages in exceptional cases.
Economic or “special” damages compensate you for out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries. They often include:
- Past and future medical bills, including surgery, hospital visits, x-rays, lab tests, ambulances, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and other medical treatments;
- Past and future lost income, including the money you lost from missed work and any potential job opportunities you missed out on;
- Costs to repair or replace damaged property; and
- Costs for any help you need for household services during recovery.
You can collect damages as long as you can prove your losses by a “preponderance of the evidence” (i.e., that there is a greater than 50% chance your claim is valid). Moreover, most states do not cap a plaintiff’s economic recovery in personal injury cases.
Noneconomic or “general” damages are harder to quantify than economic damages because they are intangible. They include:
- Physical and mental pain and suffering,
- Physical disability or disfigurement,
- Reputational loss, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Because non-economic damages are more challenging to measure and prove, consulting an attorney to help you establish and calculate their worth can maximize your claim.
Punitive damages penalize bad actors for their wrongful conduct. In North Carolina, punitive damages are limited to cases involving “egregiously wrongful acts and to deter the defendant and others from committing similar wrongful acts.” A plaintiff must also prove that one of three aggravating factors—fraud, malice, or willful or wanton conduct—were present and involved in the injury to collect.
Of note is that North Carolina is one of only four states that still follow the Contributory Negligence model. If a court or insurers find you are even 1% responsible for the incident that led to your accident, short of a compelling defense, for example, the “last clear chance doctrine,” you cannot collect a settlement.
Can You Give Me an Example of an Average Personal Injury Settlement Calculator?
Your injury’s severity and type are the biggest factors in your settlement. Typical settlement calculations reflect this standard. For example, let’s say you had a minor injury, which led to $1,000 in medical bills, and you had to miss work for two days, which cost you $200 in lost wages.
In this case, you can calculate the claim between $1,950 and $6,000. Simply put your total expenses ($1,000 for medical + $200 for lost wages) are $1,200. However, the claim could be 1.5 to 5 times that amount, ranging from $1,950 ($1,200 x 1.5 + $150 for additional minor damages) to $6,000 ($1,200 x 5).
If your injury is serious, your claim estimate goes up. In this case, your claim could be 5 to 10 times the above amount, plus $1,000 for the more severe impact on your life, ranging from $6,200 ($1,200 x 5 + $1,000 for major damages) to $14,000 ($1,200 x 10 + $2,000 for extensive major damages).
Though these settlement calculations include minor and major injuries, if you suffered a severe injury or were permanently disabled, it’s especially crucial to consult a lawyer who understands personal injury settlement computations. A skilled personal injury lawyer can precisely determine your case’s value and calculate a correct insurance settlement.
How Does a Pain and Suffering Calculator Work?
A standard formula for calculating an injury settlement includes multiplying the amount of your pain and suffering by your medical expenses and lost income. For calculating pain and suffering, a typical multiplier ranges between 1.5 and 5 and includes emotional distress and inconvenience. Generally, the more painful an injury, the higher the multiplier used in the insurance company’s personal injury settlement formula.
You can break it down as follows:
Multiply pain and suffering X medical expenses + loss of income = Injury Settlement
While insurers use personal injury and pain and suffering settlement calculators to determine how to compensate you, always remember that they will do everything possible to limit the amount of money you receive in a settlement. For this reason, getting the highest settlement for a serious injury requires the expertise of an experienced and competent lawyer.
Mehta & McConnell, PLLC Championing Your Injury Rights
North Carolina personal injury law firm Mehta & McConnell stands out for empowering injury victims with a clear understanding of their legal rights. Our firm, backed by 30 combined years of seasoned expertise in personal injury law, delivers top-notch guidance and strong advocacy to help you obtain the fair settlement you deserve.
Committed to professionalism, affordability, and individual care, we have a robust track record and reputation for compassionate, personalized client service. Get in touch for a complimentary consultation, and let our dedicated advocates take a stand for you. You’ve suffered enough—now let us help you move forward.