After a serious wreck, you may be left hurting, confused, and stressed. The last thing you need is to wonder how compensation works in your personal injury case.
In personal injury cases, compensation is paid to the injured victim by the person or company who is found to be responsible for the accident. A damage award is agreed upon in a negotiated settlement or can be ordered by a judge or jury at trial.
It’s helpful to understand the types of damages for which you can receive compensation following an accident. We will also explain how the compensation amount is determined in your personal injury case.
For What Types of Damages Can I Receive Compensation?
In most personal injury cases, damages are classified as compensatory. This money is meant to compensate the injured plaintiff for what was lost due to the crash or injury.
Some compensatory damages are easy to quantify, such as reimbursement for property damage or medical bills. It’s much more difficult, however, to place a monetary value on the inability to enjoy certain aspects of life because of physical limitations caused by accident-related injuries.
Here are some of the different types of compensatory damages that are common in many personal injury cases.
- Medical Treatment: A personal injury damages award includes reimbursement for treatment you've already received and compensation for the estimated cost of medical care you'll need in the future because of the accident.
- Loss of Property: If any vehicles or other personal items were damaged as a result of the accident, you'll likely get reimbursement for repairs or compensation for the fair market value of the property that was lost.
- Lost Wages: You are entitled to compensation for the accident's impact on your ability to earn, not just income you've already lost but also the money you would have been able to make in the future.
- Pain and Suffering: If you have experienced pain and serious discomfort following an accident, you are entitled to compensation.
- Emotional Distress: Following an accident, if you are affected psychologically (fear, sleep loss, anxiety), you may be awarded pain and suffering damages.
- Loss of Enjoyment/Quality of Life: When injuries caused by an accident hinder you from enjoying day-to-day pursuits like exercise and other recreational activities, you may be entitled to receive "loss of enjoyment" damages.
- Loss of Consortium: These types of damages refer to how the injuries sustained have impacted the relationship with a spouse and include the loss of companionship or the inability to maintain a sexual relationship, for example.
If a defendant’s conduct is considered outrageously careless, a personal injury plaintiff could be awarded punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. The real goal of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for his/her conduct and to act as a deterrent.
What’s the Formula for Determining Compensation?
There may be several factors that determine which part of the damages formula apply to the damages in your claim. They can include the severity of pain from the injury you suffered, the invasiveness and longevity of your medical treatment, the length of your recovery period, and the permanent effects of your injury.
At the beginning of negotiations on a claim, an insurance adjuster will add up the total medical expenses related to the injury. As a way to begin figuring out how much to compensate the injured person, the insurance adjuster will multiply the amount of special damages by anywhere from one and a half to five times. After that amount is determined, the adjuster will then add on any income lost as a result of your injuries.
An insurance company will never tell you what formula they’ve used to determine what they think your claim is worth. It’s important to remember that the amount arrived at by multiplying special damages is only the starting point for reaching a settlement amount.
Brad says, “More often than not, an experienced attorney is going to be able to get you a better settlement than you could on your own.”
If you have been injured as the result of someone’s negligence, it is not fair to bear the financial burden caused by the other person. Call Parker Law Firm today at 817-440-3888 for your free case consultation.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.