How Much Am I Owed?
When you are fighting for compensation after a personal injury, one of the first things you and your lawyer will need to do is to calculate the amount of money you are owed by the person or company responsible for your injury. To someone unfamiliar with this process, it may seem like you can only be compensated for expenses that you can prove with receipts and bills from doctors or repair professionals.
In truth, however, the amount you are owed will most likely be greater than these black and white expenses. While insurance companies and opposing lawyers do not want you to know this, it is important to have all of the information they use so you can win the highest amount possible for your case.
How Is My Compensation Calculated?
While every case is different, most will start by using a basic formula to help calculate your possible compensation after a personal injury. That formula looks something like this:
Translated, that formula represents the following:
Total $ Amount for Special Damages, multiplied by the General Damages Multiplier, equals the Total Compensation Paid to the victim.
What are Special Damages?
The first number in the formula is the Special Damages. Sometimes referred to as “Specials,” this number is the total of your black and white expenses incurred by your personal injury.
In most cases, this number includes all repair costs, lost property values, medical bills, medication costs, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and other provable monetary expenses caused by your injury or experienced as a ripple effect of your situation.
Once you add up the total of all of your receipts, bills, and other calculated losses, this total will be known as your Special Damages.
What is the General Damages Multiplier?
While all Special Damages are the black and white, provable expenses, the General Damages are the more subjective factors in each case. These General Damages are more commonly referred to as Pain and Suffering. The greater your pain and suffering, the higher your General Damages Multiplier will be.
Because pain and suffering are subjective and can be interpreted differently by various parties based on their own interests, this number will only vary slightly, but can still impact your payout in a large way.
The General Damages Multiplier (GDM) is simply a number between 1.5 and 5 that is used to literally multiply your Special Damages for a larger payout. When you are filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit, you believe your losses are the direct result of someone else’s action or inaction. It is the magnitude of this fault, combined with your pain and suffering that will increase your General Damages Multiplier the most.
The basic considerations when weighing your GDM are:
- The amount and duration of the pain you suffered
- The disruption of your daily life
- Recklessness or negligence on the part of the responsible party
- Added stress and worry
- Loss of consortium or missing out on benefits of a family relationship
- Loss of enjoyment due to long-term effects from the injury
- Emotional turmoil
The more of these items that you suffered in a greater degree will increase your GDM, making your total payout much higher. Even though the range goes up to 5, it should be noted that most cases will typically earn a GDM of less than 4.
Who Can Help Me Calculate My Total Compensation?
If you or a loved one has suffered from a personal injury, you should contact an experienced lawyer right away to start to work on your behalf. Your law firm is the best team to help you calculate all of your expenses and they will know the right questions to ask to help you to increase your General Damages Multiplier to the highest value possible for your case.