How to Estimate the Value of Compensatory Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When you sue after you have been in a car accident, you are typically hoping that a judge or jury will award you enough in monetary compensation to pay all of your bills related to the accident and to pay for any loss of future earnings if your injuries or disabilities are long lasting. You can try to figure out what amount of compensatory damages you might get awarded to settle the claim (this doesn't include any punitive damages you might get awarded if the other driver was willfully negligent in causing the accident). Here is how you can determine how much you can be awarded in compensatory damages when you file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident.

Medical Costs

You should collect all the bills you have received from doctors, hospitals, and clinics and add up all the charges to get a base total of your medical costs. You should also consider what types of medical services you are going to need in the future as you recover from your injuries. Your doctor should be able to give you a treatment plan that you can use to add future medical costs into your total. Remember, you are not only suing to be reimbursed for any medical costs you have already been charged, but you also want all your future medical costs related to the accident paid for, too.

Car Damages

You can also be awarded money to fix or replace your car. Typically, you should get repair estimates for car work from at least three collision shops. By going to three shops, you are able to determine an average for the repair work in your area instead of relying on one estimate that might be too high or too low. Take the average cost of the repair work and add it to the costs of your medical bills.

Loss of Earnings

A compensatory award will also cover the loss of current and future earnings. Determining how much money you have lost from current earnings is fairly straight-forward. Take your current hourly, daily, or weekly pay rate and multiply it by the amount of time you have missed from work. Determining future earnings is a bit more difficult, especially if your injuries will keep from working for a very long time or forever. Such things as your level of education, the type of work you were doing, and your future career opportunities are used to calculate an estimate of how much you would have earned over your lifetime. These figures are added to the costs of medial car and car repairs to get an educated guess of how much your base award would be before punitive damages are considered. For assistance, talk to a professional like Master Weinstein Shatz Moyer, P.C.