Available 24/7 Free Consultations
(503) 272-8986
Request Free Consultation

How Are Compensatory Damages Calculated in Oregon Car Accident Cases?

Posted on May 31, 2021 in

Oregon is a fault insurance state, which means that drivers who are responsible for car accidents must pay for their victims’ damages. If you are in an accident with a negligent Oregon motorist, you can recover compensatory damages through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.

How Are Compensatory Damages Calculated?

However, you are only eligible to collect certain accident-related damages, including economic, or financial, losses, as well as non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering.

Economic Damages in Oregon

Economic damages refer to the tangible financial losses that you sustained as a result of the car accident. Common types of economic damages include the following.

  • All past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings
  • Disability accommodations
  • The cost of rehabilitation, physical therapy, live-in care, and any other specialized treatment
  • Property repairs and replacements

Calculating economic damages is relatively simple. You will need to gather documentation that details your out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. For past medical expenses, you will need to gather medical bills, receipts, and insurance statements.

For lost wages, you will need to provide pay stubs, timesheets, and correspondence with your employer. Invoices, bills, and other financial documents can help establish other costs related to your accident.

For future medical needs, loss of future wages, and long-term care, however, you may require additional assistance. Your attorney will wait until you reach maximum medical improvement before initiating your claim; this will allow him or her to understand the full extent of your injuries and permanent complications.

Your lawyer will then consult with expert witnesses, including economists, life care planners, and medical professionals, to calculate your long-term costs.

How to Calculate Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident

Non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering, refer to the physical and emotional losses you sustained due to your injuries. Common examples of non-economic damages after a car accident include the following.

  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Chronic pain, permanent disability, disfigurement, or amputation
  • The development of mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Loss of care, companionship, consortium, or quality of life

Because you cannot provide a bill or invoice to establish these damages, they are more challenging to calculate. To estimate the compensation you qualify for, your attorney will use one of two methods.

  • The per diem method assigns a dollar amount to every day that you cannot work due to your injuries. This amount will depend on the severity of your injuries. For example, if you suffer a broken leg and cannot work for 60 days, you may have a $100 per diem—which will amount to $6,000 in estimated pain and suffering.
  • The multiplier method assigns a number to you based on the severity of your injury. The insurance company will then multiply the total amount of your economic damages by this number to determine your non-economic losses. For example, if you claim $10,000 in economic damages and receive a multiplier of 3, you will receive $30,000 in estimated pain and suffering.

Do You Need an Attorney for Your Car Accident Claim?

Calculating compensatory damages after a car accident can be a challenge, but it is very important to determine an accurate estimate before filing a claim. Without a number in mind, you could inadvertently accept an insufficient settlement offer—which will likely result in additional financial hardship later on.

In these situations, it is important to seek the help of a car accident attorney in Portland. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.