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Attorneys Derick Runion and Triumph Curiel

Calculating damages in a personal injury lawsuit

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2023 | Car Accidents

When Arizona residents prepare to file personal injury lawsuits, determining how much they should seek in damages is a crucial step. They want to ensure that they ask for enough to cover their injury, loss or damage, but they must also be realistic. If the damages sought are too high, settlement discussions will likely be unproductive. The damages awarded in personal injury lawsuits usually compensate plaintiffs for their economic and non-economic suffering. Still, the defendant may also be ordered to pay punitive damages if they acted with gross negligence or willful intent.

Calculating economic damages

Economic damages are awarded in personal injury lawsuits to compensate the plaintiff for the financial costs they faced as a result of the defendant’s negligence. These costs could include medical expenses, repairing damaged property and lost income. Calculating economic damages is often straightforward as all the information needed to determine the amount can usually be found on bills, paystubs and other documents.

Calculating non-economic damages

Non-economic damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff for their pain and suffering, loss of consortium or emotional distress are far more difficult to quantify. Sometimes, a multiplier is used to increase the economic damages figure. In other cases, a daily rate or per diem calculates non-economic damages. When arriving at a multiplier or per diem, personal injury plaintiffs and their attorneys consider factors like the scope of the injury, the permanence of the injury and the amount of time it took to recover.

Future expenses

Calculating appropriate damages is essential when pursuing personal injury lawsuits because it sets the stage for settlement negotiations. These talks should proceed smoothly if relevant documents back up claims for economic damages and non-economic damages are determined using a reasonable per diem or multiplier.