Injury Claim – What is it Worth?
Have you been involved in an accident and are curious what your case might be worth? To answer this question for you, an injury attorney will typically consult professionals in the medical field to access damages – including monetary, physical, and mental.
The responsible party in an injury case is the one that will be paying the injured individual. Normally the person’s insurance company is responsible for injury compensation. Not all cases go to trial, more often than not the cases are settled outside of the courtroom when a negotiated agreement is reached between involved parties and their legal counsel.
Let us take a look at several types of damages that are most commonly awarded in personal injury cases.
Compensatory Damages in Injury Cases
Compensatory damages are exactly what they sound like – compensation (intended to make the injured plaintiff “whole” from the monetary compensation point of view. Such damages seek to reimburse the injured for anything that was lost due to the accident – whether it be the medical bills, rehabilitation fees, property damages, or any other types of damages that can be assigned with a dollar figure. Not all compensatory damages are easy to estimate, various activities an injured person can no longer perform that cause mental anguish are a prime example. Inability to perform functions at the same physical ability as prior to the accident is another example of difficult-to-estimate compensatory damages.
A quick overview of compensatory damages:
Income – when putting a figure amount on the compensation of income, past income is not the only type of income that is considered. Any future earnings that you would have been able to obtain if it were not for your accident are also considered in overall total compensation.
Medical treatment – similar to income, compensation is calculated for medical treatment you have received and will need to receive in the future. Pain and suffering – the distinguishing feature of compensation for pain and suffering is that it normally translates into short-term suffering and pain, versus ongoing medical treatment.
Property loss – just as it sounds, your damaged property from the accident is reimbursed through estimates as fair market value.
Emotional distress – in some states, emotional distress is considered in compensation (things like loss of sleep, fear, anxiety, and any other emotional problems resulting from the accident)
Loss of enjoyment – the inability to partake in daily activities that you used to enjoy but are no longer able to do. Such activities may include a personal hobby, outdoor adventuring, physical exercise, and others.
Loss of consortium – damages awarded for negative effects the accident had on the injured person’s spouse or child. Inability to maintain a similar relationship as prior to the accident, whether emotionally or physically.
Punitive Damages in Injury Cases
Punitive damages are normally awarded in large sums to deter a specific behavior exhibited by the defendant. Think of punitive damages as a punishment for doing something terrible – in an extremely careless way. Such damages are awarded to punish the defendant and set forth an example to the rest of the community or industry that the defendant is part of. Various Factors that May Affect the Claim Outcome
Having any role in your own injury will directly result in lower compensation if any. Most state laws take into account what’s called “comparative negligence” by determining the degree of fault you had in your injury.
Other states (although few) will take into account your degree of fault in a totally different light by the standard of “contributory negligence” – determining whether you contributed to your injury and possibly denying any claims whatsoever.
Failing to receive medical treatment may also cause your claim awards to drop significantly. It is the injured person’s responsibility to take all necessary measures to prevent any further injuries, thus requiring to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
As you can see there is no clear answer to what your claim might be worth due to the sheer number of various factors that can significantly sway the compensation amounts. Depending on how well you handled the situation, your degree of fault, and your attorney’s expertise, claim awards can be maximized or mitigated entirely. Obtaining help from an injury attorney soon after the injury is your best guarantee for appropriate steps to take place and minimize the harm of making a mistake that can ultimately make your claim worthless. If you think you may have a personal injury claim, you can contact our personal injury lawyers to get answers to your questions and schedule a free consultation.