Determining Personal Injury Settlement Amounts for Different Injuries

front view of a courthouseA question often asked of personal injury attorneys is how damages are calculated during litigation. There are a number of different types of damages that can affect the amount of settlement you might be entitled to. Some are easier to calculate than others.

Damages fall into these categories:

  • Property damage – In a vehicular accident, the damages caused to the vehicle. It will also include personal items, equipment, etc, if it was damaged by the defendant;
  • Lost wages – if the plaintiff was forced to miss employment due to the negligence of the defendant, lost wages are considered. If the plaintiff is likely to lose wages due to the defendant, future lost wages can be considered;
  • Medical expenses – medical expenses, both past and future may be considered;
  • Pain, suffering and loss of companionship – an injured person is entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering associated with an injury. There is no schedule for defining pain and suffering;
  • Other potential damages – if the individual suffered permanent disfigurement, such as scarring, partial loss of a portion of the body, or will require future services due to injuries suffered, he or she may be entitled to an award.

If a case goes to trial, a jury in Nevada will be instructed that no formula or rule is used for an award of pain and suffering and the jury must use their own judgment, based on the evidence, for the compensation.

What Are Special Damages?

“Special damages” is a term that is used in settlement negotiations. It is basically the present value of the property damage, lost wages and medical expenses. These damages are considered out of pocket damages and are normally concrete and identifiable.

The insurance company handling settlement negotiations normally isn’t receptive to pain or suffering. The recent trend has been to offer less for pain, suffering and other damages than in the past.

But What About Compensation For The Future?

Future damages, including future medical, future lost wages or future therapy will normally only be awarded if there is expert testimony identifying their likelihood. For example, a doctor must usually profess the need for a future medical procedure and must acknowledge in a report or through other means. Such as a testimony.

Because of the numerous factors involved and the burdens of proof on each element, negotiating with the insurance company without an experienced attorney is not advised.  Setting up an appointment with one of the experienced litigators at Mainor,Wirth for a free consultation is a step in the right direction. Contact us at 702-464-5000.