How Is Bodily Injury Calculated In A Personal Injury Claim?
Posted on August 9, 2022 in Debt
Under Florida Statute 95.11, Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that regardless of who is at fault for a car accident, both drivers must deal with the personal injury claims through their insurance companies. It’s imperative to know that a bodily injury case is rarely a straightforward process, but a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney can make a difference.
The injured person typically receives money as compensation for an injury in a typical settlement of a bodily injury claim. In exchange, the injured party agrees to release the paying party from further liability for the injury and to dismiss any lawsuit filed seeking damages.
Let’s see exactly how bodily injury is calculated in a personal injury claim and why consulting with an attorney is a good idea.
How Does a Bodily Injury Claim Work?
Under Florida Statute 627.7407, it is mandatory for all drivers to be insured with a minimum of $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. An additional $10,000 for property damage is also required. However, the insurance company can only cover 80% of your medical expenses up to your PIP limit. So for most people, the amount of money may be insufficient.
If your medical expenses are a greater total than your PIP policy, the 80% amount can be exceeded. Contrarily, you may have other legal options, such as filing a lawsuit if your personal injury claim meets the required threshold.
According to Florida Statutes Chapter 627, you can file against the insurance company if you suffered a permanent injury, disfigurement, significant loss of function, or a car accident that results in death. This is not the only criteria for the minimum threshold for a bodily injury lawsuit. Your personal injury attorney must prove that someone else’s reckless behavior or negligence caused your injuries.
The most common evidence used to prove your injuries to the insurance company includes:
- Medical prescription receipts
- Copies of your medical bills
- Photographs of your bodily injury
- Testimony from you, your doctor, witnesses, friends, or family
- A bodily injury journal determining how your injuries have impacted your life
How Is a Bodily Injury Settlement Calculated?
Determining the proper settlement amount for a bodily injury can be tricky. With so many factors to consider (the severity of your injuries, your medical treatment, lost wages, diminished quality of life), there are two methods used to calculate the amount of a bodily injury claim.
The Multiplier Method
Insurance companies and attorneys commonly use the multiplier method to calculate the non-economic damages. The procedure involves using a figure (from 1 to 5) to multiply the quantifiable damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses.
Suppose you have been injured in a car accident, and your medical bills are worth $10,000. Based on the extent of your injuries, you can multiply the number of your medical bills by one to five, with five being on the higher end of the severity scale. Suppose you use a multiplier of 1.5 to determine your non-economic damages (damages that an invoice or a bill cannot measure). In that case, you’ll be asking for an additional $15,000 in damages or a total of $25,000 for your case.
If you use a multiplier or 5 for the same situation, you can ask for $50,000 in non-economic damages. However, multipliers of 5 are relatively rare.
The Per Diem Method
Per Diem is Latin for ‘per day.’ This method entails demanding a dollar amount for every day you had to live with the pain resulting from your car accident. The tricky part of the Per Diem method is justifying the daily rate you will use. You can do so using your actual daily earnings. You may have a valid argument if dealing with the pain and discomfort caused by your injuries is at least comparable to the effort of going to your job every day.
Let’s assume you’ve suffered whiplash and must take pain medication and wear a neck brace for two months. You then suffer pain for yet another three months, totaling five months or roughly 150 days of high discomfort and pain. If you earn around $45,000 a year, respectively $180 a day, you can receive pain and suffering compensation. In this case, you need to multiply your $180 daily rate by 150 days for a total of $27,000.
On the other hand, the Per Diem method doesn’t work when it comes to long-term or permanent injuries.
Using Both Methods
It would be in your interest to use both methods at the beginning and adjust your demands as time passes. If you have been severely injured and have a lot of medical expenses, you may want to start your settlement claim at the highest end. But if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident and liability is not that clear, your settlement will likely be closer to the lower end.
Every personal injury case is unique, so determining the bodily injury settlement can be overwhelming. But when you are communicating with your health care professionals, it is critical to report any discomfort or pain you may experience. Then write your demand letter to the insurance company stating what type of settlement offer you hope to get and why.
In most cases, insurance companies eventually agree to negotiation. If you have a strong case and you’re likely to win at trial, insurance companies will potentially pay you a higher amount of compensation so they can settle the case before trial.
Why Hiring an Attorney Is a Good Idea
Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney will help you create realistic expectations about your injury case and compensation. Moreover, they will help you calculate your damages to maximize your claim.
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will guide you throughout the process while helping you understand the legal matters. To ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible for your damages, the attorney will help determine the correct multiplier in your personal injury case, allowing you to recover fully.
Disclaimer: 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service.
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