– I’m Attorney Justin Ziegler
of JZ Helps Injury Law Firm. Today I’m gonna talk about how to calculate an
injury settlement amount. This formula, the settlement
formula for a case applies if someone else is at fault. The settlement formula
I’m gonna talk about now does not apply if the only one
responsible for your accident is your employer. However, the settlement formula does apply even if you were hurt while work and someone other than
you employer is at fault. If both sides evaluate the case properly the case should settle. The Claimant, which is you, has to come up with the case value. The defendant should come
up with the case value, which they do, the insurance adjuster and if both sides are
evaluating it properly the settlement should
be right in the middle. Both sides should overlap. So they may be off a
thousand; 10,000; 50,000; 60,000 dollars in their evaluation but they should both, the settlement should be an overlap of the claimant’s value
and the defense value because there’s not one exact number that the claim is worth. Ya know, there’s a settlement range. We’re gonna talk about the basic
formula for an injury case. The general settlement formulas. First you get the full
value of the damages, which I’ll get into in a moment. You multiply that times 100% times the chance of losing a case, which is also known as the
chance of the defendant winning the case or it getting dismissed before it even gets in front of a jury and then you multiply that times 100% minus your percentage at fault. You may have no percentage, but… You need to know every
part of this formula. If you do not know one part of the formula you might as well not do the formula because it’s gonna be way off
and you’re wasting your time. The insurance company
will know this formula and they will do it accurately. The first step is to get the
full value of your damages. Full value of your damages is generally the out-of-pocket
medical bills or liens, which is the amount generally speaking your health insurers pay or Medicare pays. You add that to your lost wages and you add that to pain and suffering. The example I’m gonna give to show you how we calculate
a settlement formula is based on a $210,000
settlement, happens to be mine, where another truck rear-ended my client who is a driver of another truck. He tore his labrum,
which is in the shoulder, the shoulder joint. He also had a herniated disk. So this is the front of what
the other truck looked like. And the values we’re gonna use are his out-of-pocket medical bills, actually what the
Worker’s Compensation paid was 60 grand for medical bills. But again, there was a third party. Someone other than his employer, the other truck was at fault. 60 grand, 60,000 for medical bills, 70 thousand in lost wages
and I came up with 160,000 for the pain and suffering component. It is the most difficult component, it’s the part of the equation
that very few people, that non-attorneys
generally will not know. But I factored for in his particular case I’ll get into it in a minute or so that pain and suffering was based on his
particular shoulder injury and he had a herniated disk. So, let’s plug in the numbers. Full value equals out-of-pocket
medical bills or liens plus lost wages plus pain and suffering. You see I’m substituting the
amount for medical bills, here we go for lost wages, and
160 for pain and suffering. I add ’em, 290, 290
grand is the full value but keep in mind this full value hasn’t yet factored in the
other parts of the equation. So, you then look at what are the chance that the defendant wins the case outright? Meaning it gets dismissed before a jury or at trial the jury says the
defendant did nothing wrong, claim is done. In this case the insurance
company, the adjuster, informally just speaking to me said, “Listen, our driver was wrong. “He rear-ended your driver. “He didn’t have any defenses. “He didn’t say that your
client slammed on the brakes.” So we get the settlement
equals full value of damages which is the 290 that we
got that we did early on, 100% minus my client’s
chance of losing the case. The insurance adjuster agreed it was zero, so you put zero in there times 100 minus, 100% minus my client’s
percentage of fault. We plug in the numbers, 290 290 grand times 100%
times chance of losing, which happens to be zero in this case based on the facts, times 100% minus my client’s
percentage of fault. We plug in the zero here, 290 times 100% times 100% and we stop here because this is part three. So right now we’re at settlement value equals 290,000 times 100% minus my client’s percentage of fault, the injured person’s percentage of fault. I’ve already discussed this. It’s very difficult to
do without experience. I’ve been doing this for many years. Generally speaking, unless
you’re an insurance adjuster or a personal injury lawyer you’re not gonna be able to do this settlement value correctly. Now, it is easier to do in a rear-end case because you know the chance
of the defense winning is generally zero unless they’re alleging that
you slammed on the brakes or witnesses are claiming that
you slammed on the brakes. Step three is you know estimate
your percentage of fault if any, you may be at fault
you may not be at fault. And you can’t do what
you think is gonna happen on your best day. You gotta do what’s fair. After all you’re going
for fair settlement. If you wanna settle the case
you’re going for fair value. You’re not hitting the lottery. So, what you then do is you look, if the defendant is at fault you say how much is the defendant’s fault and how much is your fault. Again, if you’re rear-ended
it’s usually not your fault unless they’re saying you
slammed on the brakes. So, we’re gonna use that same
numbers from the formula above the settlement value equals 290,000 times 100% minus your percentage of fault. In this case the adjuster did
not put any blame on my client nor did I, so it would
be 290,000 times 100% minus zero fault on my client. The full value would be at $290,000. Now I settled it earlier
on I said for $210,000. Why did I settle it for less than the full value of the case? I did because the defense doctor, and actually my client’s
treating orthopedic surgeon who actually operated on him said my client did not
have a shoulder tear, it was just fraying of the shoulder. He also said that the accident did not
cause the shoulder tear. The defense doctor agreed,
had the same opinion. Now, I sent my client
to get a second opinion and the doctor did say
he had a shoulder tear and it was related. But in order to settle the case
for fair value, what’s fair, I discounted the value of the chance that we would not be able to prove that my client’s shoulder injury was related to the accident. So I cut the pain and suffering
of the shoulder in half. So I valued it initially for the pain and suffering of the shoulder and I put it about at 70,000. If you plug in those numbers that’s how I got to the $210,000. Don’t use an online settlement calculator. Yes I have one on my website. I use it as a starting point only. Again, most of them do
not factor in your fault. They don’t factor in the chance
that you’ll be able to prove that the defense was at fault. They won’t factor in the chance
that you’re able to prove that the accident caused your injury if you have difficulties proving that. Again, there’s so many factors
that also go into play. I gave you, keep in mind, I took a rear-end accident
for the example I gave you. That is the most basic situation. You know there’s slip-and-falls, there’s accidents at intersections where there could be
fault on both parties. There’s all types of other accidents and I say 76 factors. There’s more than that but
there’s so many factors go into these claims. It’s not just you look on
line, you put in a few numbers, and you get the settlement formula. It’s just not that easy. An attorney, as I said earlier, should know how to evaluate
your case properly. I hope you got a lot out of this video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please comment below. Call me at 888-594-3577 888-JZHELPS. We serve the entire state of Florida or if you’re injured on a boat or cruise I would love to represent you.