When you’ve been injured due to someone else’s recklessness or negligence, it can seem like the entire world is against you. Then, suddenly, you have mountains of medical bills to pay and cannot work.
But don’t give up hope!
You may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. Many people don’t necessarily consider going this route. But it could pay off in the long run. Although the compensation can’t give you your pre-injury life back, it may make things a little easier.
The amount of money you’ll receive depends on several factors, including the severity of your injury and the extent of damages that have been caused. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of how personal injury settlements are.
However, keep in mind that every case is unique, so make sure to consult with an attorney before filing anything.
Economic Damages: What are They? And How Much Can You Claim?
Economic damages are the most common type of compensation in a personal injury settlement. They’re essentially the damages that you can put a price tag on and include:
- Past medical expenses: this includes everything from the hospital visits and follow-up care all the way down to prescription medications or devices like crutches that help with your recovery process after an accident/injury has occurred. So, this covers any medical treatment that you have already paid for.
- Future medical expenses: you may have to pay for follow-up doctor’s visits and additional therapy. You might also need imaging tests like MRIs or CT Scans if your condition worsens before it improves. In most cases, your doctor will be able to inform you of what kind of future medical treatment you may need, so your damages should consider this.
- Past lost income/wages: if you can’t work because of your injury or if you’re missing time from your job due to pain or having to see doctors for treatment, you may be entitled to compensation that helps ease some financial burden while also providing stability during this difficult period in life.
- Future wage loss/loss of earning capacity: If you’ve been injured, it can significantly impact your financial future. You may no longer be able to work at all or only part-time. A personal injury lawyer will work with experts to evaluate your circumstances to determine an accurate estimate of the income you’ll miss out on in the future.
- Household services: if your injury prevents you from doing tasks that they did before, you might need to hire help. This could range from household services like cooking and cleaning to lawn-care professionals who will take care of your yard work.
Claiming for Pain and Suffering: Non-Economic Damages
Your personal injury claim is not only limited to the list of things above. You could also claim for non-economic damages. These are often referred to as human damages or damages for pain and suffering, and you can’t put a price tag on them like you could with medical bills and lost wages.
Each person’s claim for non-economic damages will be unique to their circumstances. A court will consider your lifestyle before the accident and the extent of your injuries. For example, they’ll consider activities such as walking or driving that you may not be able to enjoy as a direct result of the accident and injuries sustained.
They’ll also consider how you were injured. For example, if you were in a car accident, you must have a “threshold injury” for a jury to award non-economic damages.
A threshold injury is defined as one of the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
However, if you were involved in a different type of accident, such as a slip and fall, the court considers a different standard. In most cases, other than car accidents, you don’t have to have a threshold injury to be entitled to non-economic damages.
You Could Also Claim Punitive Damages
Depending on how your injuries were sustained, you may also have a claim for punitive damages. These are damages that are awarded to punish the person who caused the accident that led to your injuries. For example, in most drunk driving accidents, you’ll have a claim for punitive damages.
Punitive damages may also be a factor if you were a victim of a sexual assault or other crime because of a business’s poor security.
What Else Should You Consider?
The legal sphere is a notably complex environment, so there are a range of other factors that go into establishing how much you could claim in a personal injury case. For example, one or more of these factors could also impact the outcome of your case:
- the severity of your injuries,
- your age,
- insurance coverage available to cover your damages,
- your past medical history,
- if your injuries are permanent, and
- if you were partially to blame for the accident.
In the instance that you are partially at fault for the accident occurring, your damages claim will be reduced based on your portion of fault. For example, if a jury believes the other party’s defence to be valid and finds that you are 25% at fault for your injuries, the amount the jury awards you is also reduced by 525% (i.e., a $125,000 award gets reduced to a $90,000 award).
Personal injury claims can be complex. Therefore, you want to make sure you are asking for the right amount of money so that you can cover your costs and get back on your feet.
Your best bet at succeeding is engaging the services of an expert personal injury lawyer. They can help you understand what to ask for in your personal injury claim and guide you through the process.
While you may feel pressured by insurance companies or others involved in your case, always remember that you have the final say in what happens. If you need help getting started or want advice on the best ways to handle your specific case, don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert for assistance.
Christopher Ligori – Attorney of Christopher Ligori & Associates
Christopher Ligori has been practicing law since 1994 and is one of the few attorneys in Florida to have tried over 100 jury trials to verdict. He prides himself on aggressively litigating and pursuing his clients’ claims, as well as treating all clients and their cases, regardless of the size of the case, with the same respect and diligence.