How Do Attorneys Calculate Damages?

By Peter DePaolis

Damages are your compensation after a serious injury. While it seems cold determining how much your injuries and suffering is worth, it is a necessary step in the claim phase. Whether you are filing an official lawsuit or a claim with the insurance company, the goal is to receive compensation that covers your financial losses.

To succeed with negotiations, it is best that you hire a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help negotiate, but also increase the likelihood that you receive a higher settlement so that all your costs are covered.

Understanding the Concept of Damages and Why They Exist

Damages come in three basic forms: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic and noneconomic damages are the most common, while only a select number of cases ever see punitive damages.

Economic Damages and How They are Calculated

Economic damages are easily calculated because they are your exact financial losses. You have bills, receipts, statements, and other forms of evidence establishing these losses. Economic damages are even easier to calculate when you keep track of receipts and give them all to your attorney at the time he or she calculates it.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages typically include pain and suffering and those damages that a receipt cannot calculate for your attorney. These damages are more open to negotiation because they are based on multipliers used to take your economic losses and multiply by a particular number. You may find that your non-economic damages are anywhere from two to four times your economic losses.

There is no secret formula or rule with non-economic damages. Instead, your attorney calculates these based on several key factors:

  • The severity of your injury and how long it will take to recover.
  • The permanence of your injury and if you can ever return to work or resume a normal lifestyle.
  • Past cases with similar injuries and how much the jury has awarded in those cases.

Presenting the Demand

The most important part of your case is the evidence and power of that evidence. When your attorney finalizes his or her calculations for damages, they must then gather evidence and frame that demand in a formal demand letter. The demand letter then goes to the defense attorney or insurance company for review.

The more evidence your attorney has, the easier it is to demand a higher settlement value. Also, the weaknesses of your case could result in a lower counteroffer.

Regardless, you should not worry if you receive a small counter-offer from the insurance company. Insurance companies always offer a lower settlement than the one you deserve. From there, it is up to your attorney’s skilled negotiating tactics to help you get the amount of compensation you deserve.

Speak with an Attorney About Your Injury Case

After your serious injury, turn to an attorney ready to fight for your right to compensation and ensure you receive the funds you need to recover.

Schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP today by calling one of our three locations or connecting with an office member online.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.