How To Calculate What Your Personal Injury Is Worth
Now that we have covered some of the basics of personal injury cases, let’s talk about how to calculate what your personal injury is worth. While this information will be a good start in determining an estimate, it is important to speak to an expert on the subject for better advice on the specifics of your claim. Hoglund Law’s no-obligation, 100% free consultations with experienced personal injury attorneys can help you move forward with a potential claim.
Gathering All Related Materials
The first thing you need to do is gather all of your medical bills and records related to the accident. This will give you a good starting point for estimating your total costs. If you have not yet been to the doctor or do not have all your medical bills, you can still get a ballpark estimate by using your insurance company’s fee schedule.
Types of Documents Needed for a Personal Injury Claim
Bills for all medical treatment related to the accident, including:
- Emergency room treatment
- Follow-up visits with specialists
- Physical therapy
Documentation of lost wages, if any, including:
- Pay stubs prior to the accident
- A letter from your employer confirming how much you earned and how many hours you worked per week
An official police report, if one was filed
Any other documentation that may be helpful in proving your case, such as:
- Photographs of the accident scene or your injuries
- Eyewitness statements
Adding Up Your Expenses
After all documentation has been gathered, it’s time to add up all of your accident-related expenses. This will include not only your medical bills, but also any lost wages if you had to miss work because of your injuries. If you have not yet returned to work, or if you are unable to work because of your injuries, you will need to estimate the amount of income you would have earned if you had not been injured. Again, an experienced Minneapolis personal injury attorney can help you with this.
Calculating Your Pain and Suffering Damages
Once you have added up all of your economic damages, it is time to calculate your non-economic damages. These are more difficult to quantify, but they can be just as important as your economic damages.
Your pain and suffering damages are meant to compensate you for the physical and emotional anguish you have experienced because of your injuries. The amount of these damages will depend on the severity of your injuries, how long you have been dealing with them, and whether or not you are expected to experience any long-term effects.
It is important to keep in mind that noneconomic damages are not limited by the amount of economic damages you have incurred. In other words, if your medical bills total $10,000 but your pain and suffering is worth $100,000, you can still recover the full $100,000 in noneconomic damages.
This is more difficult to quantify, but a general rule of thumb is to multiply your total costs by three. So, if your total costs are $5,000, your pain and suffering could be worth $15,000. This is just a guide, however, and the final settlement amount will ultimately be up to you and the insurance company.
Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar future misconduct. They are only available in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious, such as when they were driven by malice, fraud, or gross negligence.
Punitive damages are not available in all states, and even when they are, the amount that can be recovered is often capped.
Are Punitive Damages Available in Minnesota?
Yes, punitive damages are available in Minnesota. There is no cap to the amount potentially awarded.
Should I Seek Punitive Damages?
Whether or not you should seek punitive damages will depend on the facts and circumstances of your particular case. You should discuss this option with an experienced Minneapolis personal injury attorney to see if it is right for you.
What if I’m Partially at Fault for My Injury?
Minnesota follows the rule of comparative negligence when it comes to apportioning fault in personal injury cases. This means that even if you were partially at fault for your injury, you can still recover damages as long as the defendant was more than 50% at fault. Your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, let’s say you are involved in a car accident and suffer $100,000 in damages. The jury finds that you were 20% at fault for the accident and the defendant was 80% at fault. You would be able to recover $80,000 from the defendant. It is the job of an experienced Minneapolis attorney to present your case with the least percent of fault as possible.
Getting a Settlement Offer?
Once you have calculated the value of your injuries, you will need to submit a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. This letter should outline your injuries and damages, as well as the amount of money you are requesting in compensation. The insurance company will then review your claim and make a settlement offer.
Settlement Offers and Insurance Companies
It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses, and their goal is to make money. As such, they may lowball claimants in an effort to save themselves money. This is why it is so important to have an experienced Minneapolis personal injury attorney on your side. Your attorney will be familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to devalue claims and can help you get the full amount of compensation you deserve.
What If I Do Not Agree With the Settlement Offer?
If you do not agree with the settlement offer made by the insurance company, you have a few options. First, you can try to negotiate with the insurance company in an effort to reach a higher settlement amount. If this does not work, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
It is important to note that you only have a limited amount of time to take legal action after being injured in an accident. This is known as the statute of limitations. In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your claim within this time frame, you will likely be barred from taking any legal action.
Get Help From an Experienced Minneapolis Personal Injury Attorney
Calculating the value of your personal injury claim can be complicated. If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and options. Call Hoglund Law today at 612-499-7855.