How do you determine the amount of a personal injury award?

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How do you determine the amount of a personal injury award?

We lost control on a dirt road and flipped the vehicle 3 times. I found the driver outside of her car unconscious and she ended up not making it at the hospital. The other passenger ended up with a concussion and I have a piece of glass in my forehead that I need to have surgery for and I have had o have my hands x-rayed and both of my knees are bruised severely.

Asked on May 26, 2011 under Personal Injury, Virginia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about the driver.

As a passenger, when you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills and medical report(s).  The medical report(s) will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will be used to determine the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for any wage loss is also straight reimbursement.  There isn't any mathematical formula for determining compensation for pain and suffering, but generally it would be a multiple of the total medical bills.  Your personal injury claim should be filed against the driver's insurance carrier.  Your claim should include the medical bills, medical reports, documentation of any wage loss, and compensation for pain and suffering.  I would ask for quadruple the medical bills to compensate for pain and suffering, but not expecting to get that; just for purposes of negotiation.  The insurance company will respond with a significantly lower figure which you can either accept or reject and continue negotiations.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, you can sue the driver's estate for negligence.  You will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.  If the case is settled with the insurance company prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, no lawsuit is filed.


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