How Are Compensatory Damages Calculated in Arizona Car Accident Cases?

Posted on January 14, 2021 in Car Accidents

If you get injured in a car accident in Arizona, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for your expenses. Although no amount of money can make up for a serious injury caused by someone else’s fault, a fair award could help you pay your bills and move on.

The main form of recovery available in a car accident case is compensatory damages – an award to make a victim whole again. This type of award is further broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Learning how compensatory damages are calculated can help you understand how much your claim might be worth.

Economic Damages

In a car accident case in Arizona, economic damages refer to the compensation available for an injured victim’s out-of-pocket costs. Anything the victim has spent or foreseeably will spend on recovering from the accident will count as economic damages. An insurance company can look at many types of evidence to calculate an economic damage award.

  • Hospital bills
  • The cost of prescription medications
  • Travel receipts
  • Property repair cost estimates
  • Pay stubs from missed work
  • Letters from your doctor and employer

Calculating economic damages is relatively straightforward, as it reimburses a victim for expenses already paid or billed. Hard evidence in the form of bills and receipts can give a judge or jury exact numbers to work with. Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are more difficult to calculate.

Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages – also known as pain and suffering – describe the intangible losses suffered in a car accident. Rather than listing the specific costs of a collision, non-economic damages refer to the more general personal losses that any reasonable victim might suffer in a car crash, such as emotional distress, physical pain and suffering, discomfort, inconvenience, mental anguish, grief, loss quality of life, and loss of consortium.

There is no one way to correctly calculate non-economic damages. This type of award is entirely up to a jury to decide. A jury in Arizona has full discretion over which calculation method to use if any. A jury can decide to award as much or as little as it sees fit based on the victim’s experiences. If a jury does decide to use an equation, it will most likely choose either the Multiplier Method or Per Diem Method.

The Multiplier Method is commonly used for a serious injury claim. In this calculation, a jury multiplies a victim’s total amount of economic damages by a multiplier, often from one to five. The amount of the multiplier will directly correspond to the severity of the victim’s injuries. A more significant injury will result in a higher multiplier, and therefore a higher non-economic damage award.

The Per Diem Method is more suitable for an injury claim where the victim’s recovery date is known. In this scenario, a jury will multiply a daily (per diem) rate in noneconomic damages by the number of days the victim will foreseeably suffer from the injury. This rate is typically equivalent to the victim’s daily wage. No matter how a jury decides to calculate non-economic damages, the injured victim will need to prove his or her eligibility using evidence such as medical records and expert testimony.

How Much Is Your Car Accident Case Worth?

There is no average settlement that can accurately predict how much your car accident claim might be worth. Every case is unique. The best way to determine your claim’s potential value is by consulting with a Phoenix car accident attorney.

An attorney in Arizona can review your case in detail, analyzing your injuries and losses, to estimate its true value. From there, if the attorney accepts you as a client, he or she can fight for maximum financial compensation from an insurance provider on your behalf. Hiring an attorney is the best way to make sure you’re compensated fairly after an auto accident in Arizona.