A lawyer determines the value of a personal injury claim by taking the financial losses or quantifiable expenses incurred as a direct result of the accident and adding them to the dollar value placed on the victim's pain and suffering, according to AllLaw. In some instances, a lawyer may add punitive damages to punish a negligent party.
Lawyers estimate the value of a claim by taking the out-of-pocket losses incurred by the injured party, including past and future medical expenses and lost earnings, and adding them to general damages, claims AllLaw. General damages include the physical discomfort, stress and mental anxiety suffered by the victim as a result of an accident. To find a dollar value for these damages, lawyers add the quantifiable damages and multiply them by a number between 1.5 and five.
The multiplier chosen depends on the severity of the injuries sustained, the type of medical treatment received, the possibility of a full recovery and the impact of the accident on the daily life of the victim, explains AllLaw. The multiplier is usually negotiated by the representatives of the plaintiff and those of the defendant. Some factors, such as contributory negligence and failure to mitigate damages after the accident, may diminish the amount of damages the plaintiff can claim, states Nolo.