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How is the value of a personal injury claim calculated?

Accidents happen all the time, whether due to a slip and fall, a car accident or something else. A bad accident can absolutely upend your life, affecting your ability to function normally for a long time – possibly permanently.

How do you ever put a dollar value on your claim? Generally speaking, the average person isn’t equipped to do it alone, but understanding the differences between economic and non-economic losses can make it easier to understand the process.

3 major factors that have to be considered

Every personal injury claim is unique, but there are at least three things that are usually part of the calculations:

  1. Your economic damages: The economic losses related to an injury are usually the easiest to quantify. These are measurable financial losses, which can include medical expenses for ambulances, tests, hospital stays, medication, rehabilitation and physical therapy. They may also include lost income due to missed workdays and changes in your future earnings capacity due to permanent disabilities. Property damage may also be a factor, especially in car accident claims.
  2. Your non-economic damages: These are more subjective, which means the insurance company involved will often try to lowball their value. Non-economic damages include things like compensation for your “pain and suffering,” which is the physical and emotional distress you’ve endured as a result of the accident and its impact on your day-to-day life.
  3. Your contribution (if any) to your injuries: In New York, the comparative negligence rule means you can recover compensation for your injuries even if you are 99% responsible for an accident, but your compensation will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault assigned your way. Insurance companies often try to devalue claims by exaggerating how much a claimant is responsible for their injuries. For example, they may claim that you could have avoided a slip and fall if you’d been wearing more appropriate footwear.

Seeking legal guidance can help make certain that you don’t undervalue your claim or get pressured into accepting less than you deserve. Your intangible losses are just as important as your lost wages and medical bills.

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