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.
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
00:04 01 Aug 18
After being rear ended by an impaired driver that left the scene, I contacted Chad Stavley because of his reputation for doing the right thing for the right reasons when he was a Deputy District Attorney with Multnomah County. Not only did he make the personal injury and damage portion of the collision simple, Chad also very quickly understood that I hoped for an outcome that was fair and reasonable for the person that hit me. Because of his prior experience and background, he was able to easily navigate the criminal aspect of this case with a resolution that held the driver accountable in a meaningful way, made me feel as if my input truly mattered, and most importantly, identified and acknowledged community stakeholders affected by impaired drivers. I cannot imagine navigating this sometimes very unpleasant process with another attorney. It is Chad's integrity and sincere compassion that guided and positively impacted this process for me and everyone else involved. I will recommend Chad Stavley to everyone I know.read more
Ying Zhang
03:10 30 Jul 18
I sought out Chad after a personal injury and he was extremely helpful in helping me understand my rights and advocate my case. He was always very professional and supportive throughout this difficult time. I am extremely happy with the outcome of my case and was also able to receive much needed closure after my accident. I highly recommend Chad!read more
Kyle Turner
01:07 22 Aug 18
Chad took my case after I was in a severe car accident in which an impaired driver with no insurance was at fault. After a year of Chad working on my case, he was able to not only significantly reduce my medical bills, but as a result, was able to get some settlementment money for me. He was always great about staying in contact and I never felt rushed. Chad took the time to explain the case clearly and was even complimented by the D.A. office handling the criminal side of the accident. After everything was settled, he waived his fees, leaving me with a bit more money than I had originally thought.read more
Mackenzie Andrews
05:36 01 May 18
I was in an auto accident right after I turned 18. After a year of battling my case by myself I decided to finally look for legal help. I met with a few other attorneys before meeting Chad. Chad was understanding of my situation. I felt at ease signing over the case to him knowing everything was in good hands. I will be recommending him to all family and friends.read more
QB Oregon
22:49 28 Aug 18
Chad is a great guy to work with, very down to earth and easy to talk to. He worked with me on the wrongful death case of my husband, and I couldn't be happier with his quick responses and approach. I highly recommend him to anyone who wants an attorney that is knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile for his clients.read more
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