Factors That Determine The Multiplier For Personal Injury Damages

Posted on: 14 May 2019

If you are pursuing a personal injury case, you have or will soon hear of the "multiplier." The multiplier is a figure that you multiply with your special damages (actual damages) to get the total damages that include the pain and suffering. Multipliers range from 1.5 to 5, though they can sometimes go as high as 6 or 7. The following are some of the factors that determine the multiplier for a personal injury case.

Defendant's Liability

The issue of liability is not always clear-cut in accident cases. Your multiplier goes up if the defendant is clearly and wholly liable for your injuries and down if the liability is debatable or shared. For example, if an intoxicated driver hits your lawfully parked car, then the court is likely to find the driver 100% liable for your damages. However, if a car knocked you down during an illegal crossing, then you share the liability with the driver, and your multiplier goes down.

Level of Proof

The stronger the proof you have, the higher your multiplier will be. For example, you deserve a high multiplier if you have surveillance video footage and witness testimony that confirms your claims. You may have to contend with a low multiplier if you base your entire claim on accident reconstruction alone.

Extent of Injuries

Serious injuries call for a higher multiplier. For example, a fractured limb calls for a higher multiplier than a sprained limb. Since injuries are not always that straightforward, you may need expert witness testimony to prove the extent of your injuries.

Effect on Your Life

An accident can affect your life in more ways than one. For example, your injuries may prevent you from enjoying your favorite hobby, driving your kids to school, and enjoying sexual relations with your spouse, among other things. An injury that affects many aspects of your life calls for a high multiplier.

Past and Future Treatment

The treatment you receive is always an indication of your pain. Consider an example of a chronic back pain that takes several visits to medical specialists to diagnose, and then several months of treatment to treat. Contrast that with a skin laceration that takes a couple of visits to the doctor to treat. The chronic back pain is likely to attract higher multiplier than skin lacerations.

Preexisting Injuries

The more of your injuries are due to the accident the higher your multiplier is likely to be. Say you sprained your back while playing with your kids at home, but then got involved in a car accident that worsened your back injury. In that case, your multiplier may not be as high as it would have been if you didn't have preexisting injuries.

Learn more from a lawyer at a law firm such as Strauss and King.


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