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How the courts calculate a personal injury settlement

How is something as subjective as pain and suffering ascribed a monetary value in the courts? It depends on a wide variety of factors, and perhaps most importantly, your defense. Here is an overview of the factors that go into a settlement calculation.

First, there are two categories of damages:

  • Economic damages. These types of damages, often also referred to as “special” damages,are financial losses caused by your accident such as: medical bills, time away from work or any out of pocket expenses.
  • Non-economic damages. Often referred to as “general” damages. This is where the subjective calculations of pain and suffering factor in.

Examples of factors used to calculate a settlement amount:

  1. The nature of the injuries
  2. Physical or mental pain
  3. Disfigurement
  4. Impairment of ability to perform usual activities
  5. Aggravation to any preexisting conditions

Please be aware that you must have official documentation of any factors used as evidence.

The multiplier method

Pain and suffering is often ascribed an estimated dollar amount using the multiplier method, as described here. In short, economic damages are added together and multiplied by a number, usually between one and five. The resulting number can be used to argue on your behalf.

Be aware that in Illinois and Missouri, there is a two-year statute of limitations based on personal injury. Upon suspicion of injury, do the following: get a legal evaluation. How much is at stake might surprise you.

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