When you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver's negligence, the effects can touch almost every part of your life. You face the enormous costs of your medical care, and you will likely lose income from the time you are unable to return to work. Beyond those costs, you will also face pain and suffering and other symptoms of your injury. It's relatively straightforward to assign a dollar figure to the cost of your medical bills and lost wages, but harder to figure out how to place a monetary value on your pain.
Indiana recognizes two kinds of damages in personal injury claims: economic (also known as "special") and non-economic (also known as "general") damages. Objectively verifiable expenses such as medical bills and lost wages are considered economic damages. Non-economic damages can include pain, physical suffering and effects such as depression or insomnia that result from the injury.
Non-economic damages are inherently subjective, and so courts have to come up with ways to place a dollar value on effects like pain and suffering. They consider factors such as disfigurement or impairment caused by the injury, or aggravation to preexisting conditions.
In some cases, courts consider the "multiplier method" in which an attorney takes the purely economic damages such as medical bills, and then multiplies that figure by a number, usually between 1 and 5, to calculate the non-economic damages.
Sometimes, injured people accept an offer from an insurance company without calculating all the damages they have suffered. If you have been injured in an accident caused by another person's negligence, it is important to talk to a lawyer with experience in personal injury to make sure you understand all your legal options.