The Claim Formula

How much are your injuries worth? And how to determine your claim: 

After an accident happens, insurance companies make calls to those involved in an attempt to settle any claims. Their representatives total the medical expenses associated with a person’s injuries, and they refer to these expenses as “the medical special damages,” which they sometimes refer to simply as “specials.” In addition to medical damages, there are other damages, referred to as “general damages,” for which the injured party may be compensated. These damages include the victim’s suffering, permanent disabilities, and emotional damages. After the “special” and “general” damages have been determined, an adjuster multiplies the amount of the “special damages” by a factor of 1.5 to 3.0 when the injuries are minor. When the injuries are major, i.e., long-lasting or extremely painful, the multiplication factor can be 5.0 or higher. Then, the adjuster adds in the amount of any income that was lost due to the injury. Thus, the total compensation for “general damages” can range from 1.5 to more than 5.0 times medical expenses plus lost income. This provides a reasonable number for use in negotiations.

The adjuster’s formula is not revealed:

When the adjuster begins her or his negotiations on a claim, the injured party will not be informed about the formula that was used to determine compensation.  In fact, the adjuster will even mention that a formula was used, because he or she does not want to reveal the details of how the settlement amount was derived. Thus, it is advisable for the injured party to have her or his own calculations as a starting point from which to arrive at a negotiated settlement amount.

The deciding factor:

There are two simple but important points to remember about the damage formula. The first is that the figure arrived at by multiplying the special damages by some factor is just a starting point for negotiation. It is likely that additional factors can be considered as the case progresses. The second point to remember is the adjuster has a wide range of choices for the settlement amount, depending on the factor (ranging from 1.5 to more than 5) used to multiply the medical expenses.  

Several considerations contribute to the selection of the multiplication factor, and they should be kept in mind in determining the appropriate factor to be used for a specific person’s claim. These considerations include:

  • The more painful, the higher the factor should be.
  • The longer recovery from the injury takes, the higher the factor should be.
  • The more definitive the medical requirements are, the higher the factor should be.
  • The more serious and visible any permanent damage is, the higher the factor should be.            

Processing Your Claim

Once you have protected your interests, be sure to document your liability:

In order to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and expenses, you must first determine who is at fault. Be sure to document everything you possibly can as early as possible, because memories can fade, which will cause problems later. If a police officer responded to the scene, a written report of the scene is already available. There will be many things in that report that you can use. The insurance company will likely have a copy of the report, and you should have a copy as well.

To get the police report, you must determine who made the arrest.   The Sheriff’s Department, Police department and California Highway Patrol all operate independently. You can try to call local law enforcement, but there may be a special number that must be used to acquire an accident report. The report will be filed either by date and time, street location, drivers’ names, or license plate numbers, so make sure to have all this information available when you make the call. Before going to get a copy of the report, ask about any charge for the report, since there may be a copying fee. In the report, the officer could have noted any violation of a vehicle code or even suggested that the driver at fault was careless. If this is the case, such information can be very useful when fighting an insurance company about your claim. The insurance company will most likely not go to court to question you when you have a police officer’s written statements on your side.

Photographs: If any photographs were taken at the accident scene, make sure to get copies. Photographs can be a really big factor when it comes to convincing insurance agencies who is at fault. This is especially vital if there are photographs that can be used to prove that you are not the one at fault.

Personal Injury FAQs

What should I do if I am injured by someone else’s carelessness?

If you have been injured due to someone else’s wrongdoing, it is extremely important that you take the correct steps toward making the correct claim, as fairly and quickly as possible. Remember to write down all the factors that might be helpful to you, such as names, addresses,  phone numbers of potential witnesses, police officers, and any insurance representatives. Also, a very helpful tool for getting what you deserve is to take photos of any damaged personal belongings and of the accident.

Who is liable for my injuries?

In order to get compensation for a personal injury, you must be able to prove that it was due to someone else’s mistakes or negligence. It must be apparent that the person who has caused you harm owed a duty to not injure you, and has broken that duty, which would put him/her at fault for your injury. By law, you are entitled to receive a certain amount of compensation according to the damage caused.

If in any way, you have been injured due to a defective consumer product, the manufacturer could be at fault under the liability rule. Here, you must be able to prove that the product was required to make/keep you safe, but failed to do so, therefore causing your injury.

What injuries can I claim damages?

  • Emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, and any interference with family relations.
  • Any loss of time at work, due to physical therapy or medical appointments.
  • Property damage.
  • Past, present, and future medical expenses
  • And any other costs that were the result of your personal injury.

If you are a victim of personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, please call now. Our personal injury law firm will help you through the painful process of any Injury.