Personal Injury Compensation Claim

In this example I will discuss a personal injury compensation claim a man received for injuries to his legs and hip.

Car Accident and Injury Description

A 34 year old man was driving home when a pickup truck struck him head-on. The driver suffered multiple fractures to his legs and hip which required several surgeries.

Personal Injury Compensation Claim Result

Let’s try to understand why this man received this settlement figure and what you can learn from it.

The driver of the truck was drunk. The injured man sued the bar that had been serving him alcohol. His past medical expenses were $96,000 and his future medical expenses were estimated at $60,000. The jury awarded the accident victim $374,000.

Injury Settlement Review

When trying to assess an injury settlement claim, there are a few basic questions a jury will consider.

The first question any jury will ask is: ”Who was at fault for the accident?” Was it the plaintiff (here the 34 year old male) or the defendant (the pickup truck driver)?

In this accident claim the truck driver was drunk. So it’s pretty easy for the injured party to prove that the accident was caused by the truck driver’s negligence. Which means the jury will not reduce the injured party’s final jury settlement because he somehow contributed to the accident.

The next question a jury will consider “How serious were the injuries?” In a personal injury compensation claim the amount of your final settlement is directly related to the severity of your injuries. The more serious your injuries, the higher your settlement. Simple.

In this accident, the victim suffered multiple fractures to his hip and legs. As a result, the victim needed to get multiple surgeries.

Anytime surgery is involved you know the injuries are serious. Having multiple surgeries makes the injuries that much more significant. Having multiple surgeries implies current and future pain and suffering for the victim. Which again means a higher personal injury settlement.

In this accident claim, the current and future medical expenses totaled $156,000. If you’ve used the personal injury calculator you know that your final settlement is typically your medical expenses multiplied by a pain multiplier.

This pain multiplier is supposed to factor in what the jury believes your pain and suffering might be worth. In this case the jury assigned a pain multiplier of approximately 2.4. This resulted in the victim receiving:

Final Settlement = Medical expenses X Pain multiplier
$374,000 = $156,000 X 2.397

Subtracting the medical expenses from this final settlement shows that the jury awarded the victim’s pain suffering a total of $218,000.

How did the jury arrive at this specific pain multiplier? They considered a variety of questions to assess the severity of the victim’s injuries. They asked themselves questions like:

  • Will this injury be permanent or short-term?
  • Will the victim require ongoing medical treatments?
  • How painful will the treatments be?
  • How long is the recovery process?
  • What impact will the injuries have on the victim’s daily life?

There is no exact science in choosing a pain multiplier. It’s a simplified way to estimate how much personal injury compensation claim a victim should get. Asking questions like these can help a jury categorize an injury from being “mild” to “extremely serious”.

In this accident claim, the jury concluded that the injuries were serious but not “too serious”. Injuries that might fall under “too serious” are head injuries, severed limbs, permanent disability, etc. These type of cases would get a higher pain multiplier and therefore larger injury settlement

(For an example of a large accident claim settlement read $2.16 Million Personal Injury Settlement for Head Injury )

Bottom Line

Looking at cases like this can help you evaluate your own personal injury compensation claim. Try to look at your case objectively and determine where your injuries lie on “seriousness” spectrum. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Are my injuries short term or long term?
  • Do they prevent me from enjoying your life?
  • Will I be able to return to the same physical and emotional condition as before the accident?
  • What pain multiplier would a jury assign my accident claim?

If you start considering questions like these, you will be able to more accurately determine how much your personal injury claim is truly worth.

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