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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

How Do You Quantify a Personal Injury Claim in Indiana?

An accident that occurred because of the negligence of another can put a victim under serious financial strain. While medical bills mount, the person is left unable to work, which often results in lost wages and sometimes even job loss, further adding to the difficulties.

This is why filing a personal injury lawsuit is so important. Financial compensation can provide sufferers with much-needed relief as they recover from their injuries. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys understand the importance of calculating a fair settlement amount in personal injury cases, which is why they provide accurate estimates, taking into account both past and future losses.

Why It's Important to Calculate the Value of a Fair Personal Injury Settlement

Why It's Important to Calculate the Value of a Fair Personal Injury Settlement

When an accident occurs as the result of negligence, recklessness, or maliciousness, it's important for victims to pursue recompense, not only to cover their losses but also to hold the at-fault party liable and prevent future incidents.

The reality is that a personal injury claim is the victim's one and only chance to pursue financial compensation for property damage and injuries. If he or she calculates a fair settlement amount inaccurately, they could have to cover the cost of future medical care and lost income on their own.

This is why hiring a lawyer is essential.

An experienced personal injury attorney will have a working knowledge of Indiana laws and will have a holistic approach to the case, ensuring that the victim accounts for all personal injury damages when determining the value of their claim.

What Types of Compensation Could a Victim Claim in a Personal Injury Case?

Before learning how to calculate the personal injury settlement amount, victims need to understand what types of damages are available. According to Indiana law, a plaintiff may be eligible for three types of damages, depending on the specifics of their case. These three types are as follows:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are meant to make up for the financial losses the injured party suffered as a result of their injuries. Medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage are all included in this category. Unlike the other two types, economic damages are generally easy to calculate. All a claimant needs to do is add their financial losses.

This is why an experienced personal injury lawyer will always ask the victim to retain proof of their damages, such as hospital bills, letters from employers, and more.

Non-economic Damages

On the other hand, non-economic damages are meant to make up for a plaintiff's non-financial losses brought on by the accident and their subsequent injury. Due to their largely subjective nature, these losses are often difficult to quantify. Pain and suffering, mental anguish, and reputational damage are included in this category.

Punitive Damages

These damages are different from the previous two categories. They aim to compensate a victim for the losses they suffered as a result of the accident, while punitive damages are intended to punish the perpetrator financially for their wrongdoing.

The court will award this type of compensation when the defendant's conduct is determined to have been intentional, malicious, or extremely negligent. Punitive damages are meant to act as a warning and a deterrent to prevent the defendant from acting in this manner again. The amount awarded will depend on the nature and severity of the act and injury, as well as the perpetrator's financial status.

How Do You Quantify a Personal Injury Claim?

As mentioned previously, only personal injury attorneys can calculate the value of a claim with certainty. That's because every case is different and presents its own unique circumstances and facts. However, claimants can use the following as a guideline.

Calculating Economic Damages

This is the easiest one to quantify. All a victim would need to do is gather their bills or proof of losses and add them all up.

If the person had to pay $5,000 to the hospital for medical care, spent three months away from work (losing $4,000 per month), and had to fix their car, which cost a total of $2,000, for example, the total damages would be calculated as follows:

Medical expenses ($5,000) + Lost wages ($12,000) + Property damage ($2,000) = $19,000

Calculating Non-economic Damages

Once the economic losses have been determined, it's time to calculate the non-economic damages. Unfortunately, this value is often more challenging to calculate. However, the insurance company or court will likely use the following formula:

Economic losses x 1.5 = Value of non-economic damages

It's important to note here that the number used here isn't always 1.5. Depending on the severity of the injuries or the details of the case, a victim may be eligible for a higher amount. In general, the multiplier method uses a factor of 1.5 to 5.

Punitive Damages

Because the court awards punitive damages, it is challenging to estimate the precise amount that a plaintiff may be eligible for. However, an attorney can help to determine whether a particular personal injury case qualifies for this category of damages.

Putting It All Together

Once these damages have been calculated, they can be added together to arrive at one settlement amount. However, victims must keep in mind that this isn't necessarily the amount they will receive. Depending on the negotiations or court verdict, the amount may be higher or lower.

It's best for claimants to contact a reputable personal injury attorney to discuss the specific facts surrounding the case and receive a more realistic figure. They can help with questions like, "What is the average personal injury settlement in Indiana?"

Factors That Impact the Overall Amount That a Victim Can Claim

The truth is that several factors influence the overall amount that a claimant may receive following a car accident, medical malpractice case, dog bite, and more. The section below will cover some of these elements in greater detail.

Nature and Severity of the Injury (and the Medical Bills They Leave Behind)

Because every accident is different, the injuries sustained will vary. Relatively minor injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, will not require extensive medical treatment, so the personal injury plaintiff will not be able to claim a large amount for their damages.

However, a victim that suffers traumatic brain injuries will incur more significant medical costs and will likely be eligible for a larger amount. It's important for victims to ensure that they retain proof of their injuries in the form of medical bills, photographs, hospital records, etc., to support their claims.

Property Damage

The nature of the damage to the victim's property will also have an impact on the overall settlement or court award.

Totaling a car will add more value to the claim than a small dent, for example. Claimants will need to provide proof of the damaged property by presenting repair quotes, expert witnesses, and photographs.

Lost Time at Work

In many cases, personal injuries leave victims unable to work for weeks or even months. The time required to recover completely will impact the person's income and overall capacity to earn, which can increase the value of their claim. Obtaining letters from the employer can be crucial to back up this kind of economic loss.

Available Evidence to Back Up the Claim

Suppose there isn't much proof that the at-fault party is fully responsible for the accident. In that case, it can lower the claimant's chances of receiving the full settlement amount that they request. However, by hiring a reliable legal team, victims can ensure that they stand a good chance and have enough to obtain a more favorable outcome.

What a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do to Help

What a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do to Help

While many victims believe that hiring a legal professional to assist with their personal injury case is unnecessary, others understand the value an attorney can bring. By first offering sound advice and helping the plaintiff determine whether they have a case to start with, lawyers can help to ease the mental burden.

The truth is that dealing with insurance adjusters and other third parties can be challenging, especially if there are injuries involved. A lawyer acts as the victim's go-between, handling all communication and ensuring that their client's legal rights are always protected.

Furthermore, an attorney will hire subject matter experts to investigate the case, reveal key evidence, and serve as witnesses if the matter reaches court. In this way, there is a much better chance that the plaintiff will receive a fair amount for their damages.

Personal injury lawyers will also help victims determine the value of their claims. By considering both past and future medical expenses and lost wages, they can arrive at a more accurate settlement amount. Attorneys also represent personal injury cases in court, so if all parties involved are not able to reach an agreement, they will provide a strong legal defense to back up the plaintiff's injury claim.

Those Who Require Assistance Calculating Personal Injury Settlement Amounts Can Turn to a Reliable Attorney

It's challenging to determine with accuracy the value of a claim. Various factors may influence the final amount, which is why it is essential that claimants approach a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer for sound legal advice. They can assist with questions like, "Does emotional distress count as personal injury?"

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are well-versed in local laws and can assist victims in estimating the amount that they may be eligible for. Injured victims can contact the firm for a free consultation and case review.


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