If you are making a claim after a car accident, you will wonder how much you will get. Insurance companies use many methods to calculate the value of your personal injury claim. The claim will generally include compensation for your medical costs and lost wages, plus some amount for your pain and suffering.

The most often-used method to value pain and suffering is to multiply your actual damages – medical bills and lost wages – by a certain multiplier. Most personal injury attorneys are trained to multiply actual damages by three to reach a fair and reasonable damages number. So, if you had $5000 in medical bills and lost wages of $1000, a tentative total with pain and suffering included would be $18,000.

However, in recent years insurance companies are becoming more aggressive in fighting the multiple of three figure as a way to quantify pain and suffering.

The approach that is often used now is to take your actual damages and multiply the number by a figure that is calculated with a software program. The result will frequently undervalue your claim. The multiplier depends up on the seriousness of injuries, aggravating circumstances and how long your recovery is. For example, if you have a broken leg and must have several operations, your pain and suffering is going to be worse than if you just injured your wrist in a fender bender.

In a more serious accident, the multiplier could be 3 or 4, and in a fender bender, the number could be 1 or 2. The multiplier can be higher if the at fault driver was drunk. But if your own actions were partially responsible for the accident, a lower multiplier could be appropriate.