Factors That Contribute to Your Personal Injury Payout


A sudden, unexpected injury sends your life spinning off course in an instant, making it difficult to work and accomplish routine daily tasks. Depending on the severity of the injury, the pain and incapacity could cause temporary infirmity or permanent disability. When the injury occurred through no fault of your own but because of someone else’s careless, reckless, or wrongful actions, it’s even more distressing knowing that the harm was preventable. Fortunately, Missouri’s civil courts offer a means of redress to injury victims through a claim for compensation against the at-fault individual or business. A personal injury claim for compensation after a car accident, slip-and-fall injury, or any other preventable accident provides financial compensation for victims injured by someone else’s negligence.

factors that contribute to the value of your personal injury claim

Taking on a legal case during a time of pain, medical procedures, and an uncertain future can be daunting. Many injury victims want to know if it’s worthwhile. What factors contribute to the payout on a personal injury claim?

Understanding Economic and Non-Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

When a personal injury attorney in St. Louis investigates an injury claim for a client, they not only examine the cause of the victim’s injury to determine fault and compile evidence of liability, but they also carefully calculate the victim’s damages to maximize the amount they recover in a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. Compensation typically comes from the appropriate insurance policy, such as auto insurance after a car accident injury, or malpractice insurance after a medical malpractice claim.

The consequences of an injury are known as the victim’s “damages” in a personal injury claim. The courts divide compensatory damages into two categories, economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages:

The payout on a personal injury claim begins with a calculation of the victim’s economic damages. These are tangible financial losses that are easy to calculate. To ensure that no avenue for compensation is missed in a claim, an attorney calculates the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Anticipated future medical expenses
  • Out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury
  • Lost income
  • Future income loss
  • Diminished future earning capacity

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the intangible consequences of an injury, but often the most difficult aspect. Non-economic damages include any of the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (the ability to enjoy a full physical and emotional relationship with a loved one)
  • Disfigurement/scarring
  • Traumatic loss of limb
  • Loss of one of the senses

Calculating an amount of monetary compensation for damages like pain and suffering typically depends on the results of one of two common formulas. The multiplier formula multiplies the total amount of the victim’s medical expenses by their level of pain on a scale between one and six. The per diem method assigns an amount of compensation per day for the number of days until a medical expert predicts the victim will reach their maximum medical improvement.

How Do Insurance Companies Calculate Personal Injury Payouts?

The at-fault party’s insurance company assigns an adjuster to the case to investigate and decide on the value of an injury victim’s claim. They consider factors such as the victim’s age, the severity of the injury, their usual pay, and their prognosis for recovery, and then they make a settlement offer. Typically some back-and-forth negotiations take place between the insurer and the victim and their attorney. The payout on a personal injury claim depends on the results of the negotiation for a settlement. If negotiations don’t result in an acceptable payout amount, the case may advance to a lawsuit in court. Court cases take longer to resolve than settlements but juries tend to side with injury victims over large insurance companies, often resulting in a positive verdict with a large payout to the victim.