Is There a Formula to Determine an Accident Settlement?
Let's make this clear from the beginning. There is no such thing as a personal injury settlement formula There is no insurance settlement calculator. There is no magic equation of “x times specials” that determines the proper settlement payout for your case.
You can keep Googling until you are blue in the face. But you will never find it. Any lawyer that suggests otherwise does not understand civil tort cases.
But there is real information that can help you better understand the settlement value of your case.
Valuing cases is hard. Our system of civil justice requires juries to monetize injuries in accident cases. But injuries are just not readily monetizable. So, ultimately, the best that we can hope for is narrowing down a settlement range that your case will fall into within a 90% confidence interval.Three Times Medical Bills and Other Ready Made Formulas
Many people are desperate for a settlement formula and the urge is to assume The appropriate payout for settlement may be some multiple of the special damages. But if it is, it is largely a coincidence. A settlement that works is because it is fair based on what a jury would award you because of what you went through from the accident - your pain, your suffering, your bills - not because it is the result of some pre-ordained mathematical formula. The real end game to value is not a calculation but an estimate of what a jury might award in the case. There is one thing we can tell you without equivocation: juries don't use math algorithms to compute value.
So, in some cases, a settlement that is three times medical bills and lost wages (called together "specials" is an awful "they stole from you" resolution. In other claims, it is a fantastic result. This is how it should be. Let's beat the dead horse one more time before we move on: The idea that you can use some multiplier of the medical bills to determine how much money a judge or jury would award simply makes no sense.
Below, we explain just how cases get valued. If you want a lawyer for your claim, call us. We have an undeniable record of success. If you want to discuss your claim with us, call 800-553-8082 or you can get free on-line consultation. Keep in mind we handle only serious injury and wrongful death cases. Most of our cases are in Maryland. We accept about a handful of cases outside of Maryland each year.Why Settlement Multiplier Talk Actually Decreases the Value of Your Case
Attorneys trying to get the best compensation possible for their clients need to avoid the temptation to engage in the slippery slope of talking to insurance adjusters in "___ times specials" terms. Why? Because there is no formula to calculate settlement value. A traffic collision case is worth what a judge or jury would give the Plaintiff and there are about 10 variables far more important to this calculus than any settlement calculator or formula.
Okay, but why it is actually harmful to talk to insurance companies like this? Insurance adjusters deal with a lot of lawyers. Some who know exactly what they are doing and others who do not have a clue how to properly position an accident case to maximize the value of that case. (You can guess for yourself the relative proportions of those who know what they are talking about and those without a clue. The real truth is depressing.)
When attorneys use formula talk, they are telegraphing to the claims adjuster that you are looking at your client as simply a number that is a part of a formula, not a person. Attorneys that talk in "times specials" math like there is some theorem are not the same advocates that read and evaluate the medical records... or take cases to a jury. Insurance companies take advantage of that. Quick.
Sure, in very small whiplash injury type cases, a multiplier type formula will be correct in many of these claims. Still, even in those small soft tissue whiplash type cases, tossing around formulas and calculators will send a loud message to the adjuster that will forever mark the lawyer as an inexperienced advocate who is not able to fight the fight their clients need. This makes for a smaller settlement offer in this case and the next one.Settlement Formulas in Disguise
One thing insurance companies - thinking particularly of Nationwide [see here] and State Farm Insurance [see here] - have been doing of late is pitching offers in terms of how much more they are paying than the medical bills and lost wages. Someone smart came up with this because it is like calling something $9.99 instead of $10.00. It just sounds more palatable to say, "We are offering $50,000 more than the special damages" than saying "this offer is 1.8 times the medical bills plus lost wages." But, really, it is the same thing as a monetary compensation formula. Regardless of how it is packaged, it is nonsense.Is There a Way to Figure Out the Value of My Case?
More Settlement Information
You are not going to find the exact value of your case on-line. But we do have resources that explain how cases are valued and the average settlement amount for different types of cases and different types of injuries. You can click on those links in the preceding sentence for this information.
But use this information carefully. There are a lot of variables at play and there may be reasons why your case is worth much more - or much less - than these statistics suggest. The take home message is clear: median and average settlement value data is great. But it will not calculate your settlement for you and does not take the place of a professional analysis of your case.
Also keep in mind that many times, the insurance company will believe you are entitled to a full payout of their entire policy. But unless they know you can file a lawsuit - which almost invariably means retaining counsel - they have little incentive to make a fair offer for your injuries. So if you want to get the true amount of compensation the case is worth, you may have to fight for it.Finding a Lawyer for Your Serious Injury Case
Our attorneys look at cases on the merits of each case. We handle only serious injury claims. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or wrongful death as the result of the negligence of someone else, we would be glad to talk to you about your case to see if we believe we can add real value to your claim. Call our lawyers at 800-553-8082 or get a free Internet consultation.Sample Demand LettersValues of Specific Injuries
Note: We provide sample verdict data on this page and a listing of some of our personal injury settlements. These are not the proper valuation of your case or any individual case. To really get a better idea of the value of YOUR claim, you need to speak with a lawyer who can addresses all of the relevant facts in your case.Medical Malpractice/Nursing Home
- Average Medical Malpractice Verdicts
- Malpractice Awards by Type of Injury
- Nursing Home Lawsuits
- Wrongful Death Nursing Home Verdicts
- Foot and Ankle
- Fracture and Broken Leg Verdicts (median and average verdicts)
- Knee Injury Verdicts (median and average verdict data on knee injury cases)
- Average Disc Injury Verdicts
- Vertebrae Fractures
- Fractured Back
- Aggrevation of Degenerative Disc Disease
- Brain Injuries (motor vehicle accident)
- Dog Bites
- Burn Injuries
- Loss of an Eye
- Vision Loss Cases
- Face Scars
- Fractured Hip
- Wrist, Hand and Finger Fractures
- Car Accidents: Verdict by Case Type
- Valuing Truck Accident Cases
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- District of Columbia
- New York State (average verdicts)
- California (average verdicts)
- Texas (average verdicts)
- Get verdict data for Michigan, Virginia, Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, Tennessee, Missouri, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Minnesota, Louisiana, Minnesota, Alabama, and Kentucky
- I want more information about the value of my personal injury case?
- Tips on proceeding without a lawyer - probably a bad idea but if you feel compelled...)
- More information on the resolution of tort claims and a full explanation of exactly why having quality counsel matters
- Extensive victim FAQ's: what do you need to know.
- Handling your own case: It is a bad idea to handle your handle you own car accident case. It really is. What? You won't listen? Okay, here is some advice to limit the extent to which you screw it up.
- Do I pay taxes on my settlement?
We handle personal injury vehicle accidents, medical mistakes, bad products, and premises liability case. If you have been hurt or a loved one has been killed as the result of the negligence of someone else, call us at 800-553-8082 or click here for a free Internet consultation.Miller & Zois Personal Injury Verdicts & Settlements