Understanding Personal Injury Damages

 How are personal injury damages calculated?


I often get questions about personal injury damages. How is a personal injury verdict or settlement amount calculated?  There is a lot of bad information floating around. It is important  that you understand what you may be entitled to. First, it is important to know is that there are several categories of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages and punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are money losses that either have occurred or will occur.  Common examples are past medical expenses, future medical expenses, past wage losses, future wage losses, property damages and the cost of substitute household services.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are sometimes referred to as pain and suffering.  A jury would be told to consider such things as: pain, humiliation, distress and interference with usual activities.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are relatively rare in personal injury cases but not unheard of.  They apply in cases where there is misconduct beyond negligence.  You are required to prove the defendant acted recklessly with an indifference to the safety or health of others.  Or that the person acted with actual malice towards the victim.

Burden of Proof

The injured person must prove their economic and non-economic damages by a preponderance of the evidence.  That means more likely than not.  A simple tipping of the scales is enough proof for these damages.  For punitive damages, the injured party must meet a clear and convincing evidence standard.  A mere tipping of the scales will not be enough.


Damages In A Personal Injury Case

  • Medical Expenses
  • Future Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Future Lost Wages or Lost Earning Capacity
  • Property Damages
  • Pain & Suffering

Medical Expenses

You are entitled to recover for your past medical expenses that are reasonably related and necessarily incurred as a result of your case. It is important to understand that you are entitled to the billed amount and not just what was paid by health insurance, PIP etc. For example if you had to stay in the hospital and the billed charge was $50,000 but your health insurance paid only $10,000 per their contract with the hospital, then you can still recover the $50,000 and pay back the health insurance lien at $10,000. The difference is yours.

Future Medical Expenses

You are entitled to your proven future medical expenses. This often arises when a person is injured and will need a future surgery or other medical care after any trial would be completed. You are entitled to recover the amount of money it will cost to get this care.

Lost Wages

If your medical provider keeps you off work, restricts your hours or your job duties and you loose wages or sick time then you can recover the amount of these losses.

Future Lost Wages or Lost Earning Capacity

If we can prove that you will suffer future wage losses or lost earning capacity then we can recover for these losses too. Future wage losses could be for time off when you will have to undergo a surgery. Lost earning capacity is for a situation where your injury is such that your ability to earn a living in the future has been compromised. You can still earn a living but less so than before the incident. You can recover for that difference.

Property Damages

You can recover for the fair market value of the damage to your property. For example, in a car accident case you can recover for the fair market value of your car assuming it is totalled. If it is not totalled, you can recover for the cost of repair and the amount that the value of your car has been diminished due to having been in a crash, if any.

Pain & Suffering

This is the part that is hardest for some people to understand.This is damages that don't have an easily determined price tag. What is the right amount of money to make up for past and future pain, limitations, embarrassment etc. This is where the skill of a personal injury lawyer can really make a difference. Make sure any lawyer you select has winning trial experience. There is no formula that a jury gets to hear. Their determination is made based on the facts and arguments made by the lawyers.
Law Office of Chad Stavley
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Debbi T.
2017-03-05 15:14:24
I live out of state and reached out to Chad for help with a pedestrian accident that I had while in Portland. Chad took the time to listen and communicate...
Libby S.
2017-11-03 09:05:05
I don't ever write reviews, but this is one I wholeheartedly recommend to my community and family in need of a Personal Injury Attorney. Navigating a...
Kate F.
2014-11-12 13:35:31
I feel fortunate to have Chad on our side to handle an accident a couple of years ago. I'd had zero experience in lawsuits. He is knowledgeable,...
Alana S.
2015-06-12 16:12:28
As someone without any experience in the legal realm, it is daunting to navigate the aftermath of an auto accident. Chad is both knowledgeable and...
Russell Charley
21:18 15 Nov 17
I have to thank Chad for his time and compassion when working with my Mom and l.When I initially called Chad I was full of fear and anger about the wreck and how my civil case was being handled. My former attorney had just notified me, by mail, that he couldn’t do anything for me, and to come pick up the paperwork.Chad listened and talked with Me. Giving him hope and a path forward. This is what I needed at this very low point in my life.Chad met with Mom and I in person, later emailing us detailed instructions. Which we followed. He provided support and was available when we got stuck and had questions. Chad’s help and support have been invaluable to our family. And has help put closure to this catastrophic event in my life.I high recommend Chad.read more
Trudy Corrigan
16:29 25 Oct 17
Chad helped us walk the difficult path of victims of a violent crime. He was experienced and reassuring through tough times.
James N
22:11 14 Jun 17
Chad is the real deal, truly out to help the less powerful and not in it just for a paycheck. Heres proof: I called him because my insurance adjuster was BS'ing me around with medical coverage, telling me I wasn't eligible. Chad went out of his way to three way call my insurance company with me, talk to the adjuster, and voila! Now i have medical coverage and I can get my back fixed. The best part? He didn't charge me a dime! He did it out of the kindness of his heart for somebody of lower status. Call it 100% magnanimous. If you're looking for a personal injury attorney, Mr. Stavley is your guy. read more
Abby K
14:52 31 Mar 17
Chad and his staff were extremely helpful with my case. I contacted his office after being injured in a car accident and he was able to produce a very nice outcome. He and Stephanie were always available and responded quickly to any questions or help needed in a friendly way. I highly recommend him!read more
Milton Pareta
05:16 17 Nov 16
I was in a major car accident in Eugene, Oregon back in June 2015. Resulting in numerous of injuries. Hospitalized for a couple of weeks and rehabbing for a couple of months after that. I was referred to Chad and he even came out to see me in Eugene from Portland. Our first discussion wasn't about any legal actions but how I was healing from the accident. Chad actually cares about his clients and will make sure you're taken cared off. He makes sure he is prepared for his cases and always is in communication with me. He even calls to see how I am doing or if I needed anything. He made my lawsuit really easy to handle. He will give you the best result one can ask for. Very easy and cool to work with. He will make sure that you are taken cared off. I highly recommend Chad Stavley for any personal injury case. You will be very pleased from the results.read more
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