Calculating your injury compensation amount begins by determining what your injury-related costs are. For example, your economic damages typically include medical expenses such as hospital bills, medications, appointments, and treatments. In addition, if you could not work because of your injury for a certain period, you can also add in the wages lost during that specific time.
However, knowing how injury compensation is calculated also involves other factors, which we will look into further below.
How Do You Calculate Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages are the second category of damages that you could recover in your injury claim or lawsuit. They are also called pain and suffering damages since they compensate for the intangible cost of your injuries, such as trauma, disabilities, and even the loss of your enjoyment of life.
While Indiana does not have specific instructions on what formula to use when calculating non-economic damages, both claims adjusters and the civil court often use what we call the multiplier method. In this method, they will multiply your economic damages by a certain value ranging from 1.5 to 5. The multiplier used depends on the injury’s severity. The idea is that you have suffered more if your injury is more severe.
For example, if you suffered from a dislocated shoulder, the jury may decide to give you a multiplier of 2 or 3. However, a permanent brain injury, paralysis, or multiple bone fractures could get you a multiplier of 4 or 5. You could have an injury lawyer assess your injury reports to project the multiplier that you could receive.
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What Other Kinds of Damages Are Included in Injury Compensation?
Here are some of the damages that can be used to determine your compensation:
Possible Future Injury Expenses
When you suffer from an injury that requires further treatments, the claims adjuster or the court can also include the expenses for these in your injury compensation amount. They can also consider whether your injury has temporarily or permanently limited your ability to work and earn as much as you used to before your injury. It would let you recover damages for future lost wages.
The civil court can also award punitive damages of up to $50,000 or thrice the value of your economic damages—whichever is greater. However, this is typically used as punishment for an at-fault party’s excessive negligence. Therefore, you must first check whether your case would qualify for punitive damages before adding them into your calculations.
For instance, you may be more likely to receive punitive damages if you were a victim of road rage than if you had a slip and fall because an employee forgot to place a “wet floor” sign.
How Do Damage Caps Affect the Compensation Amount?
Damage caps limit the amount you can recover as injury compensation, thus also affecting your computations. However, not all Indiana injury cases have damage caps. You only have to account for these limits if you file a medical malpractice claim or an injury claim against the state.
If you file medical malpractice claims, your current damage caps are $1,800,000. Meanwhile, your damage caps are at $700,000 for injury claims against the government.
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Does Sharing Liability Reduce Your Settlement?
Indiana’s comparative fault rules state that you could recover a reduced amount of your injury compensation if you are partly liable for the incident that resulted in your injury. The deducted value depends on your fault percentage.
To illustrate, suppose that you were injured in an auto accident where the court found that you did not yield. However, the other driver was driving while drunk. After deliberating, the court then decides that you are 40 percent liable while the other driver is 60 percent at fault. Unfortunately, that would also mean you can only recover 60 percent.
If you know or suspect that you share some fault for your injury, you should consult with an attorney first, as they could help review your evidence to estimate the fault that could get placed on you. They could also work on presenting your claim or case to minimize your fault.
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We Can Help You Seek Compensation for Your Injury
When calculating your injury-related damages, it would be in your best interest to consult with an Indiana personal injury lawyer. They are already knowledgeable about the various laws affecting your settlement. As such, they could better account for all the factors involved in getting a more accurate estimate.
Since 1985, the office of Sevenish Law Firm, P.C, has worked with injury clients throughout Indiana. We have decades of experience in various practice areas, including traffic accidents and product liability. Other law firms may offer a discount but we here at Sevenish focus exclusively on personal injury cases. Our entire practice is dedicated to it.
You can get started with your legal action today by calling our 24/7 support and hiring one of our injury lawyers in 10 minutes or less.