Are Personal Injury Settlement Calculators Reliable?

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on July 5, 2024

. Updated on July 5, 2024


blue code used for calculator graphic

Many injury victims turn to personal injury settlement calculators to determine what their claim is worth. While these online tools are certainly convenient, they are often unreliable and inaccurate. There is no way for these calculators to factor everything into your claim.

In this blog, our South Bend personal injury lawyers explain how these calculators work, their limitations and why it is important to work with an experienced attorney after an accident.

If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own and need help reaching a fair settlement, call Pfeifer, Morgan and Stesiak. Our firm has decades of experience helping personal injury victims recover compensation and you only pay us if we win your case.

Call today for your free consultation: (574) 444-0741. We have recovered millions for injured victims.

What is a Personal Injury Settlement Calculator?

A personal injury settlement calculator is an online tool injury victims can use to estimate the value of their economic and non-economic damages. Users input details about the accident and their injuries, and the calculator provides a rough estimate of how much compensation might be available.

However, you should not consider the estimate from one of these calculators as a replacement for the advice of an experienced lawyer with a history of results. There are numerous factors involved in these cases, and an experienced attorney knows how to weigh those factors to determine an accurate value for your damages.

How do Personal Injury Calculators Determine the Value of a Case?

Online car accident calculators estimate potential settlements by asking victims to input the value of their medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

While these tools are called calculators, they do not simply add up the numbers you put in. Settlement calculators also ask for details about the accident and your injuries. All this information is put into a formula that considers average settlement data from a range of cases.

After you input the information, the calculator provides estimates for different damages, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Personal injury settlement calculators typically use a multiplier to determine the value of non-economic damages like pain and suffering. They multiply your medical costs and possibly other economic losses by a number called a multiplier. Some calculators determine the multiplier on their own and others allow users to select the multiplier themselves.

Are There Different Calculators for Specific Injuries?

Yes, there are different types of calculators for different types of accident/injury claims. Examples include:

  • Car accident claim calculators
  • Workplace injury claim calculators
  • Medical malpractice calculators

Why Are Personal Injury Settlement Calculators Often Wrong?

While they are fast and convenient, online calculators have significant limitations. For one, they cannot come close to fairly considering every factor that may affect the value of your case.

While it is true that one aspect of evaluating a case is adding up the costs you have incurred, there are many other small details to consider.

This is particularly true when victims have long-term or permanent injuries. Calculators are going to rely on averages and use a cookie-cutter approach to place a value on future damages.

This approach does not make sense when you consider how people respond differently to treatment. For example, you might get surgery and still need long-term care, while other people with a similar injury may get surgery and fully recover. These two claims would have vastly different values.

An experienced attorney knows how to take a personalized approach to determine what your claim is worth. He or she can also consult medical experts who can do a physical examination and closely study your medical records. After a personal injury, you do not want to be treated like a number. Your injuries and the other details of your case are unique, and you need an attorney who handles the case accordingly.

Another problem with determining the value of your claim based on averages is that they might be far lower than the value of your claim. For example, there may be genetic factors or other issues that increase the value of your case. Settlement calculators cannot consider all this information.

Some key aspects that calculators often overlook include:

  • Emotional Distress: Calculators cannot accurately quantify the emotional and psychological trauma you suffer from an accident, such as post-traumatic stress or anxiety. While there is a science to evaluating injury claims, there is some art as well.
  • Comparative Negligence: Indiana applies the modified comparative fault rule, which can reduce compensation if you are up to 50 percent at fault. Settlement calculators typically do not consider this important rule in their estimates.
  • Legal Fees and Costs: Calculators do not consider the cost of filing procedures, arbitration and legal representation, leading to estimates that differ significantly from actual settlement amounts. When you meet with one of our lawyers in a free consultation, we explain our fee structure in detail, so there are no surprises.

Are Attorneys More Accurate Than Personal Injury Settlement Calculators?

While every situation is different, it is generally true that human expertise and understanding play an important role in determining an accurate value for an injury claim.

These are some of the reasons why attorneys often do a better job evaluating personal injury damages:

  • Comprehensive Analysis: Our lawyers conduct thorough assessments of all contributing factors. We are focused on your best interests throughout the process, and you are not a number to us.
  • Tailored Approach: We give personal attention to each case, unlike the generic output from calculators.
  • Experience and Skill: Lawyers understand the law and know what insurance companies are going to say to deny your claim. Experience often means lawyers are prepared for any number of problems or details that calculators simply cannot consider.

While there may be some utility in a settlement calculator, the numbers these tools generate do not have any authority. Insurance companies are not going to care about the number you got from a settlement calculator. They have their own methods for determining what a case is worth.

Need Help Reaching a Fair Settlement? Call Us To Discuss

Were you injured in an accident?

At Pfeifer, Morgan and Stesiak, we understand the complexities involved in personal injury cases and are committed to securing the full compensation you deserve.

Let our experienced and knowledgeable legal team guide you through this challenging time. Speaking to one of our attorneys does not involve upfront costs or fees, so there is no financial risk to you.

Learn more about your legal options: (574) 444-0741.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases