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Putting a Value on Injuries – Why There is No Personal Injury Calculator

Maryland personal injury lawyers are often asked by clients ‘how much is my case worth?’ This is not a straightforward question to answer.

There is no such thing as a personal injury calculator, algorithm, or precise mathematical method for working out damages in a case. However, there are formulas that guide settlements after auto accidents and other injury cases.

In the absence of a personal injury calculator, the courts work through a process to compute personal injury damages. Two key elements are considered.

Two Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

A personal injury claim comprises economic damages, and pain and suffering damages.

The established formula to reach a personal injury settlement figure in Maryland involves working out past medical bills, future medical bills, past and future lost wages and pain and suffering damages.

Although there is no standardized average personal injury settlement calculator, courts, injury lawyers, and the insurance adjusters use formulas.   There is a tried and tested formula for assessing past and future medical bills and past and future lost wages.

However, pain and suffering damages usually make up the larger percentage of a personal injury payout. A personal injury calculator will be unable to produce an exact figure. There is established methodology for putting a sum on pain and suffering but there is also a subjective element, Different methods of calculation are used by insurance companies.

Ultimately, the size of a recovery may depend on how sympathetic a jury is to your case.

The Personal Injury Calculator Process

Six main elements are combined to work out a damages figure in personal injury cases. They are.

1 Medical Expenses

Medical bills after an injury are added up to reach a total.

2 Property Damage

Property damage may be factored in after an auto accident. It will not usually be a factor in other personal injury cases like a slip-and-fall. After a car wreck, you are entitled to be made whole for any damage to your personal property. 

3 Lost earnings

The sum of lost income due to an accident is calculated. A dollar value is added if you used benefits like time-off benefits because of your injury.

4 Future lost income

A projected calculation of how much money you will lose in the future due to your accident is added to the equation.

5 Future medical expenses

If you are likely to suffer ongoing medical issues from your injury, your Maryland personal injury lawyer will factor in the likely cost of future medical expenses.

6 A Multiplier for Damages

In calculating pain and suffering, insurance companies will generally use a multiplier of up to five times your medical costs. After serious injuries, the multiplier may be higher.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

There is no average personal injury calculator for pain and damages suffered after a car wreck or another personal injury in Maryland. A judge or jury must base the figure on a series of predictions. There are few guidelines beyond the requirement to ensure the figure is fair.

Many of the big insurance companies use a formula to calculate pain and suffering. The Colossus computer program is used by companies like Allstate to estimate total injury claims. Although the insurers will attempt to cloak their calculations in science, Colossus is used to low-ball the injured party’s claims. Insurance companies typically multiply the total of medical bills by a number between one-and-a-half and five to calculate “pain and suffering.”

Computer programs of this kind may masquerade as personal injury calculators but a machine cannot accurately measure pain and suffering. A computer is unable to consider the severe impacts a car accident had on a victim’s physical and mental well-being or to gauge the credibility of the injured party.

Factors to Consider in the Absence of a Personal Injury Calculator

Even without the help of a personal injury calculator, an experienced Maryland car accident attorney will weight up the factors that are pertinent to pain and suffering in a personal injury calculation. Unlike the insurance company, we will build in the human dimension. These factors include:

An experienced personal injury lawyer will consider the ordeal suffered by the car accident victim and make a demand based on specific categories.

The multiplier effect can be used for a number of categories including:

  1. The trauma of the car accident
  2. How long the immediate pain lasted
  3. The pain associated with surgery
  4. The pain and suffering associated with the recovery from surgery
  5. Pain and suffering for the rest of the victim’s life.

Lifelong pain and suffering typically leads to the highest payouts. People who end up with brain or spinal cord injuries in car crashes in Maryland may suffer permanent injuries and severe pain and suffering for the rest of their lives.

Calculating the Multiplier in Personal Injury Cases

While the insurance company will use a pain and suffering formula in which medical bills are multiplied by a figure between one-and-a-half to five times your medical costs, some cases will justify a higher multiplier. In cases with elevated levels of pain and suffering, a personal injury attorney can make a case for a higher multiplier.

Some factors that may justify a higher multiplier include:

Another method for calculating pain and suffering is called the “per diem” method which means “per day” in Latin. Under this method, people who are injured receive a certain dollar amount for every day they had to live with pain related to the accident.

An example would be a motorist who sustained a broken wrist in a car accident. He had treatment and wore a cast for two months, and suffered ongoing pain and discomfort for a further two months. He suffered approximately 100 days of pain and discomfort.

The driver earns $40,000 a year which is $160 a day when it’s divided by the 250 days he works. To arrive at a pain and suffering figure, multiply $160 by 100 days the driver was in pain. By the per day method of calculation, the injured driver would receive $16,000 for pain and suffering.

The multiplier and the daily rate personal injury calculator methods may lead to different results. The daily rate method is ineffective in calculating long-term injuries.

Non-economic damages are capped under Maryland law which is currently $845,000 for personal injuries and $1.2 million in wrongful death cases with two or more beneficiaries.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases, a court may award punitive damages to punish a defendant in a personal injury case. An example might be injuries caused by a drunk driver who was behind the wheel when he was three or four times over the DUI limit.

Punitive damages are awarded at the discretion of a judge or a jury and may be considerably higher than compensatory damages. There is no set formula for awarding this additional money.

Contact a Skilled Maryland Accident Lawyer

Calculating damages is one of the most complicated parts of the personal injury process. Although insurance companies and lawyers do not use a standardized personal injury calculator, there are tried and tested methods and a number of different formulas in use.

A Maryland personal injury lawyer will examine all the options, consider the formulas and make a case for the best recovery. If you were hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle wreck please talk to a car accident attorney at the Law Office of Randolph Rice.