How To Maximize Your Settlement In An Arizona Personal Injury Claim
How To Calculate Pain & Suffering Damages In An Accident
Accidents are an unfortunate but inevitable part of life. Traffic collisions, slip and falls, dog bites, and other various types of accidents can be expensive and painful. You probably already know that you can collect medical bills, missed wages, and other expenses that are a direct result of your accident. However, that doesn’t necessarily compensate you from the stress and physical and emotional trauma you may experience due to an accident. Pain and suffering is damage that represents the pain and psychological distress an accident causes, and is usually a significant contributor to your total award.
Starting The Personal Injury Claim Process
Every once in a while, the party at fault for the accident (or their representative) may simply reach out to you after an accident and offer you a settlement agreement. However, this usually isn’t the case. Typically, you will need to initiate the personal injury claim process yourself by sending the other party a demand letter. This letter should include a description of the accident, your injuries, and how these injuries have inconvenienced you and caused you unnecessary expense.
Calculating your damages from your injuries is easier said than done. Even your medical bills can be more complex to estimate than they seem. The statute of limitations, or the time limit in which a lawsuit must be filed, for most personal injury claims in Arizona is 2 years. For serious injuries, the treatment time can exceed well beyond 2 years. You will need an estimation of your present expenses, as well as the medical expenses you expect to incur in the future due to your injuries.
Another common damage to calculate after an accident is time missed from work. If you miss work due to your injuries, the other party may be required to compensate you for that lost time. Your injuries may be severe enough that they impede your ability to advance in your career. If so, you can also demand compensation for this lost earning potential in your personal injury claim.
The Pain & Suffering Multiplier Method
The most common way to calculate pain and suffering is by using the multiplier method. To use this method, you will first sum the rest of your damages- lost wages, medical bills, future medical expenses, etc. That amount will then be multiplied by a number that is generally between one and five. Minor accidents will generally be assigned a low multiplier. When the injuries are severe, or the other party’s conduct was especially egregious, a higher multiplier will be used. A higher multiplier will also be used if the responsible party was intoxicated at the time of the incident. A quality personal injury attorney in Mesa will negotiate and argue for the highest possible multiplier to be used in your case.
The Per Diem Method
A less common way to calculate pain and suffering is the per diem, or per day, method. This method involves assigning a value to the number of days you suffered after your accident. Plus, this will in part be based on your income. Therefore, this method is infeasible for long term and permanent injuries, especially those that can’t be fully treated within the statute of limitations.
Using Evidence In Your Personal Injury Claim
One way your Chandler injury attorney can negotiate for higher pain and suffering damages is by using evidence to show the extent of your injuries. Your attorney will investigate all the details of your case to find every possible piece of evidence.
Some types of evidence that are common among personal injury claims include:
- Photographs and video recordings of the incident, including surveillance footage
- Eyewitness testimony
- Evidence from the scene- tire tracks, debris, broken glass, etc.
- Medical records
- Expert testimony
- Mechanic receipts
- Accident reconstruction
Your Fault In The Accident
If you are able to reach a high multiplier for your case, the other party will likely seek to reduce their payout by assigning you fault in the accident. Arizona uses a doctrine for personal injury claims called comparative negligence. In this doctrine, an accident victim’s award can be reduced based on the percentage of fault assigned to them in creating the accident.
For example, let’s say you are in a car accident with another driver. Your total damages are about $50,000. However, the evidence shows that you were speeding and failed to properly signal. You are deemed to be 25% at fault for the accident. Your award will be reduced by $12,500. It is important here to have proper legal representation. Your Tucson personal injury attorney will defend your position so that the amount of liability assigned to you remains as low as possible.
Contingency Fees & Your Personal Injury Award
The good thing about hiring a Glendale personal injury attorney for your claim is that most will not charge any fees up front. They will instead work on what is known as a contingency basis. This means that at the end of your case, your attorney will receive a set percentage of your award. If you are unable to reach a settlement agreement, and lose at trial, your attorney will be paid nothing. While this takes out some risk factor for you, the amount you end up paying could be extremely high.
You can usually expect personal injury attorneys to charge somewhere around 33-35% of your final award. However, it isn’t uncommon to see attorneys charge up to 40% or even more. With the significant figures at play in a personal injury claim, this could end up costing you thousands of dollars. For example, let’s say your claim is worth about $100,000. If you hire an attorney who charges a 30% contingency fee, they will receive $30,000 out of your final award. An attorney who charges 40% will receive $40,000 out of your final award, or $10,000 more. The difference will be even more dramatic in a case with a higher value. Clearly, finding an attorney with a fair contingency fee is a simple way to maximize your personal injury payout.
Our Mesa Injury Lawyers know that every dollar counts while recovering both physically and financially from an accident. That’s why we are proud to offer our clients a guaranteed 25% contingency fee. This ensures you will retain a healthy portion of your personal injury settlement or trial award.
Let One Of Our Skilled Mesa Accident Attorneys Evaluate Your Personal Injury Claim
After an accident, don’t rely on the other party’s insurance company or online calculators to tell you the value of your claim. You should have your claim evaluated by an experienced Arizona accident attorney. When you retain a personal injury attorney, all communications and negotiations regarding your claim will go through your attorney first. Instead of fending off insurance adjuster manipulation, you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting back to work. To learn more, schedule your free case evaluation with one of our Mesa personal injury lawyers today- contact us or use our online form to request your free consultation.