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How a Personal Injury Claim is Calculated

There are a number of elements that go into deciding what you are owed that your lawyer will need to look into.

June 29, 2022

Author: Jacob Cathro

Claimants often wonder what they may be owed for their personal injury.

It may be surprising to learn, but a large portion of what you are paid in a settlement or lawsuit as a claimant comes down to your pain and suffering. 

So, how do you put a price on your pain and suffering? What is a broken leg worth? A broken arm? How about a spinal cord or head injury? Well, professionals will refer to what is called case law to determine this value. 

Case law takes into account past judgements, which have been made by a judge in a courtroom, for injuries similar to yours.

Throughout the years, there have likely been many cases of other people who have suffered similar injuries to you, which have affected their lives in a similar way. And, in those cases, a judge has decided what that type, severity, and duration of injury is worth.

Finding close matches in case law is difficult to do on your own. It’s even hard for professionals to do manually. But, software like PainWorth can automatically find the case law relevant to your case in seconds and tell you what your pain and suffering is likely worth.

Is That It?

Not quite.

So, let’s say you have a broken leg. Your broken leg must be worth the same as everybody else’s broken leg, right? Well, pain and suffering is just one aspect of a personal injury claim.

Different people are affected in different ways, even by similar injuries. A broken leg may not affect me the same way that it affects you, even if the break is very similar. 

Why is this? Well, there are a number of other “heads of damages” which need to be accounted for. These include:

Loss of Income

Depending on your job, your injury may have affected you in different ways. Somebody with a broken leg may not be able to continue the duties of their job if they work on their feet all day. On the flip side, somebody who works from home at a desk job probably would be able to continue their duties. 

As a result, the person who works on their feet would likely have lost income. The person who works from home at their desk may not have any lost income at all.

This is taken into account when professionals calculate what they believe you are owed in your personal injury case. 

Loss of Housekeeping

Much like your injury may have resulted in loss of income, it can also result in what is called loss of housekeeping. 

If you’re injured, then doing the things that you usually do around the house may become a struggle. This can include tasks like cleaning, cooking, laundry, shoveling snow, and more. 

The legal system recognizes the value of housekeeping, and the costs to replace those tasks.

For example, if your broken leg limits you from shoveling your driveway, you are entitled to recoup the costs of hiring somebody to complete that service for you. Even if you don’t directly pay somebody for the work (let’s say that somebody you live with does it for you for free), you are still owed the market rate for what that service would cost.

Now, let’s say you were recovering from your injury during a period of time where it snowed every day for two months straight. You would be entitled to compensation for these services.

In somebody else’s case, it may not have snowed at all during their recovery. You can probably see where this is going—they wouldn’t be entitled to compensation for snow shoveling. 

The Type of Care you Received

Let’s say you used as many services available to you as you could, to get better as quickly as possible. These can include:

  • Doctors
  • Physiotherapists
  • Chiropractors
  • Massage Therapists
  • Psychologists

These are all taken into account when professionals decide what they believe your case is worth. If you spend thousands of dollars out of your own pocket on these services, and they help you in your recovery, you are owed that money. 

That said, keep in mind that you will not be compensated for portions of these services, if they were already covered by a health benefits plan or by an accident benefits plan.

Essentially, you must use your existing coverage first before seeking compensation via a personal injury settlement, and you can’t “double-dip.”

Additional Expenses

Finally, it is common that you may have other expenses directly related to your personal injury. These are often called “out-of-pocket expenses” or “additional expenses” and might include things like:

  • Paying for parking at your doctor’s office (remember to keep your receipts!)
  • The cost of transportation to go see your chiropractor (e.g. a per kilometer rate, or the cost of hiring a taxi).
  • Adaptations that you may have needed to make to your home or vehicle as a result of your injury (e.g., a wheelchair lift)

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a pretty good idea of what your personal injury claim might be worth.

Putting it All Together

As you can see, there are a number of elements that go into deciding what you are owed that your lawyer will need to look into. Finding case law that is a close match to your situation takes time, which is why professionals and claimants alike are turning to PainWorth. 

PainWorth is an innovative platform that uses machine learning to automate the bodily injury claims settlement process. PainWorth is the easiest way for claimants and insurance industry professionals to calculate the value of bodily injuries and settle claims faster.

To learn more about what your bodily injury claim might be worth, try PainWorth for free today!