One of the first steps in negotiating a settlement of a personal injury claim is calculating how much money you would accept to give up your right to take any further legal action against the at-fault party. Most insurance companies and injury attorneys rely on one formula or another to arrive at a financial starting point for settlement talks. This is true for a bodily injury claim in a car accident case, a slip and fall injury claim, or any other personal injury case.
One common formula involves combining a multiplier (explained in detail below) and your total medical expenses to come up with an estimate of non-economic damages (which includes compensation for your pain and suffering). This figure is then added to your economic losses (medical bills, property damage, and lost income) to get to a dollar amount from which you can negotiate. The calculator below can help you arrive at this kind of number.
Damages and multiplier
After you enter your numbers and click “Calculate,” the two dollar figures you see above the “Your Total Settlement Estimate” field represent the two main types of damages in most personal injury cases: economic losses (called “special” damages) and non-economic losses (called “general” damages). In any injury-related insurance claim, or even a personal injury lawsuit filed in civil court, losses suffered by the injured person can usually be placed into one of these two categories.
Special damages are those losses that are easy to quantify. They include the costs of medical treatment, any lost income due to time missed at work, property damage caused by the accident, and other out-of-pocket losses.
General damages, on the other hand, aren’t so easy to quantify. They include a sub-category of damages known as pain and suffering, which means the physical discomfort, mental anxiety, stress, and similar negative effects of the injuries—as well as the impact that the injuries have on the claimant’s day-to-day life.
Learn more about personal injury damages.
So, how do you put a dollar value on these kinds of losses? That’s where the multiplier comes in. To get a dollar figure that might represent the value of the general damages, an insurance adjuster will add up all the “special” damages (quantifiable losses) and multiply that total by a number between 1.5 and 5 (that’s the multiplier).
The multiplier will be lower or higher depending on a number of specific facts related to your case: How bad are your injuries? How much medical treatment have you received? How much treatment will you need in the future? Are you expected to make a full recovery? Will there be permanent or long-lasting effects? How have the accident and your injuries impacted your daily life? The list goes on.
Of course, the proper multiplier to use will likely itself be a point of contention. You’ll argue for the use of a higher multiplier (4 or 5, for example) while the adjuster is likely to push for a lower multiplier (perhaps 2 or 3).
Get more information on the right multiplier to use in valuing your personal injury case and tips on settling a personal injury claim.
Adjust Your Settlement If You Share Fault
You may need to reduce your target settlement amount if your own negligence or carelessness contributed to the underlying accident. Depending on the state in which the accident occurred, the law could require that a jury award be reduced in an amount equal to your percentage of fault—and in a few cases, the award could drop to zero.
Disclaimer: This is for informational and estimation purposes only. Although this calculator uses formulas derived from accident law, this does not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, based on the facts of your accident, the estimate produced here could be higher or lower than the actual amount you may receive when filing your claim. Moreover, depending on the facts of your accident, you may not be entitled to any money. This does not substitute for qualified legal advice. If you have a lawyer, please communicate with your lawyer and do not request a lawyer through this process. If you are seeking an attorney, you may request one via this process. No attorney-client relationship is formed just through the use of this calculator, even if you request to speak to an attorney.