The BASE Formula for Calculating Car Accident Settlement Value

How to use the Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation (BASE) to bolster your case.

The value of an accident claim varies depending on whether you're talking to the accident victim or to an insurance adjuster. Naturally, the adjuster usually places a much lower value on the claim when compared to what the accident victim thinks his or her claim is worth. After a car accident, the key in any settlement negotiation is to have concrete numbers (and a reputable formula from which those numbers were derived) to support what you're asking for. That's where the Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation (BASE) formula comes in. You can use the Baldyga formula (named for Dan Baldyga, who created it) to estimate the dollar value of an injury claim and present your argument to the other side. This article explains how the BASE formula works, and how it might come in handy in your case.

How the BASE Formula Works

Damages Multiplier. The four BASE values are known as:

  • low value
  • core value
  • mean value, and
  • premium value

Each of these values corresponds to a multiplier:

  • 2 is the multiplier for the low value
  • 3 is the multiplier for the core value
  • 3.5 is the multiplier for the mean value, and
  • 4 is the multiplier for the premium value.

Quantifiable Damages. The first step in using the BASE formula is to total up the plaintiff's quantifiable or provable damages, and factor that number in with the multipliers listed above. Quantifiable damages can include:

  • medical bills (emergency services, hospital stays, treatment from specialists, pharmacy expenses, and physical therapy)
  • cost of future medical treatment
  • lost income, and
  • lost future earning capacity (if you're unable to hold the same job you had before the accident).

Next, you plug the provable damages in against the multipliers to arrive at the low, core, mean, and premium values of your case.

For example, let's assume that Bryce is in a car accident, and his total quantifiable damages (including medical bills and lost income) are $10,000. Here's what the value of Bryce's case looks like at each BASE value level:

  • low level value = $20,000 (2 x $10,000)
  • core level value = $30,000 (3 x $10,000)
  • mean level value = $35,000 (3.5 x $10,000)
  • premium level value = $40,000 (4 x $10,000)

Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation. The next step is to factor in the variables which can impact the pain and suffering component of a personal injury settlement. These relevant variables may vary depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case, but generally include:

  • severity of the injuries
  • scope of treatment for the injuries
  • whether the plaintiff will be permanently scarred or disfigured
  • whether the plaintiff is likely to make a full recovery
  • whether the plaintiff complied with the prescribed course of medical treatment
  • the degree of emotional distress suffered by the plaintiff, and
  • the plaintiff's age, occupation, and marital status.

Putting It All Together

Of the four BASE value levels, the core value level is the starting point under the BASE formula. Sticking with our earlier example, the core value of Bryce's case is $30,000. The variables discussed in the previous section will either move Bryce up to mean ($35,000) or premium ($40,000) value, or bump him down to the low value ($20,000).

After factoring in all the relevant information about your case, and settling on an appropriate BASE value, you are ready to begin negotiations with the insurance company. Your settlement demand number should always be two to three times more than the BASE value plus any property damage (i.e. cost of getting your vehicle repaired).

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