Money issues can hang over a person who has suffered an injury just as badly as their pain and suffering. In addition to medical expenses, they can face utility bills, mortgage or rent payments, and a sudden loss of income. Understandably, one of the first questions folks often have for a personal injury lawyer is about how much compensation they might receive.
Lawyers have a reputation for answering, "It depends." Here are three aspects of a claim that will likely dictate how much compensation you might receive if you are successful in pressing your case.
The Extent of the Injuries
Notably, this factor works in two related ways. First, there is the simple cost associated with things like exams, surgeries, and medicines. Even once you start on a road to some level of recovery, you'll probably have to deal with expenses involving physical therapy, medical devices, or ongoing care.
That first set of factors sets the baseline for the second set. Compensation for pain and suffering arises from a formula that starts with your medical costs. Although the law doesn't require the use of a multiplier, insurance industry claims adjusters will usually use a multiplier somewhere between 1.5 and 5 based on the extremity of your pain and suffering.
Suppose someone suffered $100,000 worth of direct medical expenses. If an adjuster deemed their pain and suffering to be moderate, they might receive $300,000 based on an in-between multiplier.
Quality of the Demand Package
While it's easy to assume the bulk of the outcome boils down to what happened in the accident, compensation levels start with where your demands start. A personal injury attorney will send a demand package to the insurance company. The ideal scenario is to so clearly outline the nature of the client's injuries that the claims adjuster agrees and settles the case then and there. Otherwise, the adjuster might present a lower offer, and negotiations will ensue.
A good demand package contains lots of details. Typically, a personal injury lawyer will include medical records, reports from first responders, and evidence from the scene of the incident.
Many states have specific limitations on injury recoveries. The one exception to such limits is always catastrophic injuries. If a personal injury lawyer can show that a victim suffered life-altering injuries, the caps are removed. Always make sure you understand what these limits are and how the exceptions are handled in your state.
For more information, contact a personal injury attorney today.