When people in Washington are injured in car accidents because of the negligent actions of other drivers or entities, they may be entitled to recover damages by filing personal injury lawsuits. Two types of compensatory damages may be recoverable in a lawsuit, including general and special damages. Special damages are monetary amounts that are awarded to compensate people for their economic losses, while general damages are monetary amounts that are awarded to compensate plaintiffs for their noneconomic losses.

Noneconomic damages are harder to value because they are meant for losses that are not pecuniary. One type of noneconomic damages that is frequently at issue in car accident cases is pain and suffering. Lawyers and insurance companies use a multiplier method to calculate the value of pain and suffering damages.

Under the multiplier method, all of the economic losses that have been suffered by the plaintiff are totaled. These include things like past and future medical costs and past and future income losses. After the aggregate value is determined, a multiplier that ranges from one to five is then used. The attorney or insurance company will multiply the total economic losses by the multiplier. Insurance companies commonly choose lower multipliers while personal injury lawyers choose higher multipliers, depending on the extent and severity of the injuries and the likelihood of fully recovering.

People who have suffered injuries in motor vehicle accidents that were caused by the negligence of others might want to talk to experienced personal injury lawyers before they agree to accept early settlement offers from the insurance companies. The companies frequently extend early offers that are much lower than the value of the victims’ claims. An attorney might review all of the evidence, the medical bills, and the income losses to figure out the special damages. He or she might then choose an appropriate multiplier to value the pain and suffering damages. This might provide people with a better idea of the potential values of their claims.