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What You Should Know About The “Damages and Compensation Formula”

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Many people, when they’re hurt in an accident, wonder just how much they can file for in terms of compensation. Is your injury worth $100,000? What about $1 million? How does one put a value on the potential cost of your future medical bills, future possible compensation, pain and suffering and damage to your quality of life?

There is a specific formula that is used by legal professionals and the courts to value the damages a person suffers, both objective and subjective, to arrive at a final figure regarding how much a case is worth. Learn about the damages and compensation formula, its importance in setting the value of a personal injury claim, and how attorneys use it in your case.

Why a Formula is Needed

There is a broad range of damages for which a person can file when they’re hurt in an accident. Insurers, attorneys, and the courts need some sort of a common baseline so they can communicate the value of these things. While some damages are objective — the amount of money you’ll lose in wages for the time you’re estimated to be out of work, or the total cost of your estimated medical bills, for example — others are more subjective. These include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost or damaged relationships
  • Emotional trauma
  • Damage to quality of life, including lost education, social experiences and the like

There are a whole range of injuries you can suffer that aren’t easy to quantify, and thus, a formula is necessary.

Damages and Compensation Formula

The first thing you need to understand is that no insurance adjuster is willing to reveal the formula they use. Doing so would put them at a disadvantage in negotiations.

How it generally works, though, is that they add up the total of the victim’s medical expenses, and apply their formula which could be from 1.5 to 3, 5 or even more times the quantitative “special” damages, the multiplier based on the severity of the injury. The final number is their starting offer.

Starting Point for Negotiations

The thing to keep in mind is that this formula represents the insurer coming to a starting point, not an endpoint. What you ask for is almost always going to be significantly higher than the formula result the insurer uses for their offer. You’ll then bring in other factors they may not have considered and try to demonstrate the sheer severity of your injury.

The process of negotiation will then proceed back and forth until each side arrives at a satisfactory middle ground.

Hiring an Attorney

If you’re hurt in an accident and need compensation, it’s always a good idea to have a competent and experienced negotiator in your corner. A qualified attorney will know how to challenge the initial offer, and may even be able to divine the formula the insurer is using based on their experience and knowledge in this area.

In short, a qualified South Carolina personal injury lawyer is your best bet to get the maximum value for your case. If you’ve been hurt and need help pursuing damages, contact the experienced attorneys at Harris and Graves today, for a consultation at no charge to you.