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How Is an Injury Settlement Calculated in Missouri?

If you are injured in an accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your related losses and expenses, including your medical bills. This compensation may come in the form of a personal injury settlement with an insurance company. Understanding how insurance companies determine settlements may help you maximize your monetary recovery as a victim.

How Is a Settlement Calculated in Missouri?

In Missouri, the civil justice system allows an injured accident victim to receive financial compensation for both economic (tangible) and noneconomic (intangible) losses. Understanding which losses are compensable can help you create a comprehensive list to submit in your demand letter to the insurer. If you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit in Kansas City, you may be entitled to receive compensation, also known as damages, for the following:

  • Economic damages. This encompasses any out-of-pocket costs or financial losses associated with an accident. It can include medical bills, lost income, damaged property, legal fees, travel costs and burial expenses.
  • Noneconomic damages. This part of a settlement pays a victim for the pain and suffering caused by an accident and injury. It can pay for physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, lost household services, loss of consortium, reduced quality of life, and more.

Calculating a victim’s economic damages requires adding up all of the bills and receipts associated with the accident. Calculating noneconomic damages is more difficult, as it does not rely on hard evidence. A jury may use the Multiplier Method, the Per Diem Method or no method at all to calculate pain and suffering. The Multiplier Method multiplies the total amount of economic damages by a number that is appropriate based on the severity of the victim’s injuries. The Per Diem Method multiplies the total number of days the victim will have the injury by a daily amount that is usually equivalent to his or her daily wage.

The Insurance Settlement Process

After you file an insurance claim for an injury, the company will assign an adjuster to your case. The insurance adjuster will review your claim and any evidence that you submit. The adjuster will investigate the accident and determine how much your case is worth. Then, he or she will submit a recommendation to the insurance company to either accept or reject your claim. If the adjuster believes your claim is valid, he or she will also recommend to the insurer how much to offer as a settlement. 

A claims adjuster can consider many factors when calculating a settlement for a claimant, including:

  • The claimant’s age
  • The claimant’s earning level before the accident
  • Injury severity and extent of disability (if any)
  • The claimant’s prognosis for recovery
  • The amount of coverage available on the policy
  • The claimant’s comparative fault or the fault of another party

Note that an insurance claims adjuster will look for any reason to deny payment or reduce the value of your claim. The adjuster’s goal is to save the insurance company money, not to help you recover. This is why it is important to understand the true value of your case with assistance from a personal injury lawyer in Kansas City before accepting a fast insurance settlement. 

How an Attorney Can Help

Statistically, most accident victims receive greater settlements when they are represented by attorneys versus representing themselves. An insurance company is more likely to take an attorney seriously and treat a claimant who is represented fairly. Hiring a lawyer could result in a greater financial payout, even after you pay attorney’s fees. A lawyer will give you a realistic assessment of your case and help you pursue maximum financial compensation using proven negotiation strategies. With help from an attorney, you can be sure that you achieve the best possible financial outcome for your claim.

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