How Should You Calculate Personal Injury Damages?


When you are in pain because of an accident or intentional action by another individual or corporation, you are not concerned with how much you could or should be compensated. Instead, you are solely focused on getting better. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned with recovering damages. So, how do you calculate the damages you should expect?

In personal injury situations, you are often allowed to recover two types of damages, special and general. Special damages are the easier of the two to calculate since they are based upon concrete numbers. Special damages are intended to repay you for medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, damaged or destroyed personal property, and lost income. You can establish these easily by providing receipts for your medical bills and expenses, values for damaged or destroyed items, and documentation showing how long you were unable to work. If you are still in recovery when your case goes to trial, then the special damages will include anything up to the time that judgment is made.

General damages, on the other hand, are more intangible. First, general damages pick up where special damages end. In the situation where you are still away from work and still incurring medical and out-of-pocket expenses, general damages will incorporate projected, future medical bills and lost wages.

For general damages, the hardest part is putting a numerical value on items that are difficult to quantify; these include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anticipated future medical issues
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic illness

Once you have captured all of the general ailments and issues, it is time to assign a numerical value to these problems. Often, these are lumped together as a valuation of your "pain" as a result of the injury or injuries you sustained. "Pain" is very subjective since one person's pain can be debilitating while another person can function at an almost normal level with the same set of injuries.

As a starting point, a good rule of thumb is that "pain and suffering" is roughly three times special damages. For example, if your special damages total $100,000, then your general damages would be around $300,000.  But, if your injuries are particularly severe, resulting in permanent disability or disfigurement, the value can be much higher.

Ultimately, it is up to the jury to decide how much to award based upon the compelling argument you and your lawyer present. It is only when a settlement is on the table that you have to try to figure out an acceptable amount for yourself. For more information, talk with an attorney like those at Kiernan Personal Injury Attorneys PA.


2 August 2017

Talking About Car Accident Cases

Hello everyone, my name is Nina Zoulon. On this site, I am going to share information about hiring a personal injury attorney. I will also talk about my journey to procuring those services for myself. When I was a beginning driver, I was on the road constantly. During one of those excursions, a driver going the opposite direction crossed the centerline and plowed straight into my vehicle. I was trapped by the dashboard for hours while firefighters helped me escape. After the accident, the other driver tried to blame my inexperience on the accident. I hired a lawyer to help me fight the case and I won. I would like to discuss personal injury attorney services in more detail to help other people win their cases in court. Thanks.