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How are personal injury settlements calculated?


Personal injury law is a blanket term that involves getting compensated for the effects of several different types of accidents. These can include car accidents, slips and falls, product liability, and even medical malpractice. Victims often seek monetary compensation for their injuries, which is intended to cover lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.


Since these issues can cause severe anxiety and stress, recovery is even more difficult than just dealing with physical pain and limited mobility. That’s why settlements are meant to cover medical expenses and get a person back on his or her feet after an unpredictable tragedy has taken everything away through no fault of his or her own.


A Denver personal injury attorney with Zaner Harden Law can tell you more. Call (720) 613-9706 or contact us online for a free consultation.

how to calculate personal injury settlement

Where does the compensation come from?

Personal injury settlements provide compensation to cover the injured person’s costs. A settlement materializes after the hurt individual sues the party who was responsible for the accident. The settlement is generally paid by the at-fault party’s insurance company such as their property or car insurance.


When we get a driver’s license, we agree to adhere to all traffic laws — it’s our duty to protect our safety and the safety of other people on the road and pedestrians. Property owners and managers are expected to ensure their property is safe for visitors, such as promptly cleaning up spills and providing warning of potential hazards.


By driving safely or wiping up spills on one’s property, you’re keeping others safe. By acting negligently (without intent), or maliciously (with intent), one is not acting responsibly, and if the victim can prove such, he or she will be properly compensated in the event of an accident.


This is why insurance is required for vehicles and is strongly suggested for all other properties. The at-fault insurance provider is paid monthly so they can compensate a victim should an accident occur.

What’s the average cost of a non-incapacitating injury?

There’s really no “magic number” when it comes to calculating the cost or a personal injury settlement for someone who suffered a non-incapacitating injury. Generally, if you broke your arm or leg and will fully recover in a few weeks, you likely won’t get as much as someone who suffered a traumatic brain injury, or some other type of injury that could have permanent consequences.


According to an analysis performed by the National Safety Council, the average non-incapacitating or evident injury accident costs about $29,200. But you could receive more or less, depending on the specific circumstances of your case.


For example, you may receive more if you suffered severe mental trauma from the accident. You could have nightmares about it, and you haven’t been able to sleep as a result. Your trauma could be so severe that you’re afraid to leave the house, or you’ve lost your appetite.


As long as your attorney can prove you’re going through this trauma, you may be able obtain significantly more compensation.

How are settlements calculated?

It’s hard to give an exact formula for how settlements are calculated because there are so many contributing factors that go into the process of determining an appropriate amount. Put simply, the more serious your injuries are or the worse off you are, the more compensation you are likely to receive.


Here are a few factors that influence the amount that you may get.

Medical expenses

This can include both past expenses that may or may not have already been paid for, and any anticipated future expenses for long-term care. This also includes ambulance rides, hospital stays, and equipment, such as crutches, or wheelchairs.

Property repair or replacement

This covers vehicle replacement or repair or compensation to repair or replace any other property damaged due to the fault of another individual or entity.

Lost wages

This means the amount of money that you were unable to earn because of either missing work or becoming unable to perform your job to the best of your abilities due to your injuries.


This compensation can also reimburse workers that were forced to depend on their other employer-provided benefits, such as paid time off and vacation time. If you are unfortunate enough to become injured to the point where there is a high probability of losing future income, you may be compensated for that as well.

Pain and suffering

Pain and suffering may also be considered when a settlement amount is being agreed upon. Pain and suffering can also include emotional suffering since accidents can bring about feelings of anxiety and depression that you may never have had before.


This money can be used to pay for professional help if needed, or it can be used to reasonably compensate for the trauma in the only way that a lawsuit can.

Surgery is valued higher 

If you need a surgical procedure, there’s a very good chance your settlement will be higher. Even if you have a so-called “minor” surgery, that can still be extremely expensive. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the average surgery costs about $36 per minute in the operating room, excluding some notable participants. 


There are several costs other than those incurred in the operating room that need to be considered, too. For example, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other professionals or supplies weren’t included in the $36 per minute figure. This also doesn’t account for some of the costs for independent doctors, hospital recovery time, aftercare, rehabilitation, and more. All of these costs add up, and they can be astronomical.


At $36 per minute, a four-hour surgery could cost nearly $9,000, excluding several other costs such as anesthesia and post-surgery care. Even a relatively minor surgery could take four hours, but a surgery such as a spinal fusion or one with complications could take significantly longer. 

Insurance companies may pay different amounts for the same injury

Different insurers have different formulas for how they calculate a personal injury settlement. Some multiply the amount of your damages or costs by either 1.5 or 2. If you’ve had an especially painful injury or that injury is debilitating, they might multiply the amount by 5. Some will even go as high as multiplying your damages by a factor of 10.


Whatever the figure may be, it’s important you know that’s just a starting point for negotiations. Your attorney will likely argue that your damages are much higher than what the insurer offers, and will use solid evidence to support their figure. 


There are several reasons to hire an attorney as soon as possible. One of the biggest is that your lawyer will need to investigate the accident to gather evidence. This will be the proof needed to show you weren’t at fault, and that you deserve every penny your attorney demands. The earlier that investigation begins, the less of a chance that essential evidence will disappear.

Contact Zaner Harden Law today

Personal injury settlements work wonders in aiding victims of accidents with obtaining the financial security to move their lives forward after the accident. Now that you know how personal injury compensation works, you can rest assured knowing that hiring a competent attorney is the first step in getting the money you deserve.


If you’ve been the victim of a motor vehicle accident or any other type of mishap that wasn’t your fault, schedule your free consultation with our Denver personal injury attorney by calling (720) 613-9706.


Contact our Denver Personal Injury Law Firm Today For Help

For more information please contact Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation with a Denver personal injury lawyer.


Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers

1610 Wynkoop Street, Suite 120. Denver, CO 80202
(720) 613 9706

Where We Are

We are located across the street from Union Station in downtown Denver and offer validated parking for all our clients. We also have offices in Boulder and Colorado Springs.