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Calculating Non Economic Damages After a Car Accident


Calculating non economic damages after a St. Louis car accident can be challenging.

St. Louis woman with neck injury

If you are injured in a car accident, you are generally entitled to both economic and non economic damages. Although economic damages are usually easy to calculate, the same is not true of non economic damages.

To calculate what you are entitled to for economic damages, you simply add up your lost wages and repair costs along with any medical bills that you might have. Much more concrete, there is often little argument about how much a car accident’s economic damages are worth.

What Are Non Economic Damages?

Non economic damages are different. Non economic damages include things like pain, suffering and emotional distress. It isn’t as objective and, often, the total of what you are entitled to receive for non economic damages is a matter of negotiation with the insurance company.

The insurance company is like any other business. Their goal is to make money. The way that they do this is by limiting their liability and offering settlements that aren’t meant to fully compensate the injured person. They are looking for ways to save money.

Why Are Non Economic Damage Calculations Not Exact?

Oftentimes, insurance companies will save money by shorting victims compensation for non economic damages. Non economic damages can’t be quantitatively measured. That puts it in the hands of the lawyer and the insurance company to negotiate and come up with a “fair” price.

Unlike economic damages, which can generally be totaled exactly, non economic damages are different. Non economic damages are based on the experience of the injured individual. Since no two people will ever have the same experience, deciphering what one person is entitled to for their subjective feeling becomes arbitrary at best.

Insurance companies and a lawyer will use one of two methods to calculate non economic damages: the multiplier method or the per diem method.

The multiplier method generally uses a scale of injury severity of one to five and then uses that number to multiply the total cost of an accident’s economic damage. The per diem method uses a daily rate of pain and suffering expressed in a dollar amount and then multiplies that daily rate by the number of days that a person suffers.

If that seems a little stiff, it’s because it is. 
It is easy to see how calculating non economic damages can be confusing and how there can be a huge discrepancy in what you think your pain and suffering is worth and what an insurance company does. After all, they didn’t suffer at all, so how would they know?

Getting Legal Help

The average individual who gets into a car accident has no idea how to calculate the pain they have endured or how much it is worth, which is why it becomes imperative to speak a St. Louis car accident attorney. Having an experienced attorney in your corner will benefit your case greatly.

When it comes to calculating how much your injury is worth, don’t go it alone. Since calculating non economic damages is subjective and open to interpretation, you will want to have someone on your side to fight for that to which you are entitled.

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Updated: June 8, 2018