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What Is Your Claim Worth?

Whether you are an individual, family member, attorney, claim adjuster or risk management executive, it is important to understand the value of your claim(s) or expected claim(s). The art and science of claim valuation has improved over the years, to the point now where each claim can be measured soon after the occurrence.

Some of the basic concepts of claim valuation have remained constant throughout the past several decades. Terms such as “special” and “general” damages are meaningful to the adjuster and attorney, and are “Greek” to the average person and their family. In our upcoming series about “What Is Your Claim Worth”, we’ll try to highlight the key concepts to enable a process of faster resolution and settlement of claims.

“Special Damages”

Generally, the definition for Special Damages is the monetary losses someone incurs from an occurrence such as medical bills (past, current and future), the cost to repair damaged property, and lost earnings. For simple situations, this may only amount to a few hundred dollars. For more complex situations, this amount may be thousands of dollars. For the most serious injuries, the damages may amount to millions of dollars.

“General Damages”

The definition of General Damages is generally known to be a monetary award for injuries suffered during an occurrence (including pain, suffering, inability to perform certain functions, etc.) or breach of contract for which there is no exact dollar value which can be calculated. The state-of-the-art and science of the measurement of general damages has improved tremendously. While there is no exact dollar value associated with a general damage award, a range of values can be accurately determined for final negotiation between the parties.

Independent analysis and trust allows all the parties to arrive at the proper amount for the answer to the question “what is my claim worth” now. Follow our series as we explore various topics within this important field of study.

By Robert J. Blackburn, Managing Principal, Blackburn Group, Inc., contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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