How Are Personal Injury Settlements Calculated in Kentucky?
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How Are Personal Injury Settlements Calculated in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, personal injury settlements are designed to compensate injured parties for damages incurred due to another’s negligence. Having an understanding of how these settlements are calculated is incredibly helpful for the plaintiff – a clear understanding informs decision-making and negotiations with insurers or during lawsuits, ensuring you pursue a settlement that genuinely acknowledges the extent of your losses.

Different Types of Damages

Understanding the distinction between different types of damages is fundamental in gauging how personal injury settlements are decided in Kentucky. There are three primary categories:

Economic Damages: This encompasses tangible financial costs directly resulting from an accident, like medical bills, lost wages due to time taken off work for recovery or disability, rehabilitation expenses, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages include compensation for less tangible but still significant consequences such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life or companionship, and similar subjective losses that don’t have a fixed monetary value.

Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are rare and are not awarded specifically to compensate the injured party. Instead, they are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. They will only be awarded in cases where the defendant engaged in malice, oppression, or fraud.

A plaintiff shall recover punitive damages only upon proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant from whom such damages are sought acted toward the plaintiff with oppression, fraud or malice

Understanding the types of damages is the first step to making sure you are calculating what you’re truly entitled to.

Calculating Economic Damages

Calculating economic damages generally involves quantifying the financial impact of the injury on the injured party. As an example for work-related injuries, here’s how this is generally approached:

Medical Expenses

Calculate all medical expenses incurred as a result of the workplace injury. This includes emergency room visits, hospitalization, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and any future medical treatments related to the injury. For example, if you require surgery for a back injury sustained at work, all related medical bills, including post-surgery physical therapy sessions and medication, are calculated as part of the economic damages.

Lost Wages

Calculate the total amount of income you have lost due to the inability to work. This calculation should include the time off work for medical treatment and recovery. If you are unable to work for six months due to a work-related injury, your lost wages calculation would include the total income you would have earned during those six months.

Future Earning Capacity

Estimate the loss in future earning capacity if the work-related injury results in a disability that affects your ability to work at the same capacity as before the injury. This involves analyzing your current earnings, age, skills, and the severity of the disability.

For instance, if you suffer a permanent injury and can no longer go back to your job and can’t earn as much in another job, the calculation would consider the impact on your ability to earn going forward.

Other Financial Losses

Include any other out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the injury, such as the cost of traveling to medical appointments, modifications to the home to accommodate a disability, and any other equipment or services required for recovery and rehabilitation.

Calculating Non-Economic Damages

Calculating non-economic damages in personal injury cases in Paducah and throughout Kentucky is often more complex due to their subjective nature. There are two primary methods that attorneys, insurance adjusters, and the courts use in these instances:

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method is employed to approximate non-economic or intangible damages based on the severity of your injuries. Typically, actual economic losses – total medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket losses – are calculated and then multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5.

The more severe your injuries, the higher the multiplier will be. For example, permanent injuries that lead to significant medical expenses and may prevent a person from ever working again would likely receive a multiplier of 5.

Then, that total economic damages are multiplied by 5.

For example, the total amount of lost wages and medical expenses is $100,000, and the multiplier of 5 is used. This means non-economic damages under this method would be $500,000.

The Per Diem Method

The per diem method calculates non-economic damages by assigning a daily amount to your pain and suffering that accrues each day until you have recovered from your injuries. This rate is subjective and may be based on various factors, including the nature of the injury and its impact on the person’s daily life. Commonly, attorneys might use the injured person’s actual daily earnings as a basis, arguing that pain and suffering are at least worth a day’s wages.

The daily rate is then multiplied by the number of days the injured party is affected by their injuries. For example, if the daily rate is set at $100 and the individual suffers for 100 days, then the total non-economic damages would be $10,000.

Determining the appropriate amount of damages is critical after suffering a personal injury, and it requires careful consideration and accurate calculations based on a wide array of factors. If you’ve suffered due to someone else’s negligence and need help determining what you may be entitled to, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.