If you are in the process or filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is perfectly natural to wonder how much compensation you are entitled to. And while this is not an easy question to answer, there are ways to predict a potential settlement or case resolution.
The answer will always rely on what are known as “damages.”
Damages are whatever harm has been inflicted on you, and how much that harm is worth:
In some cases, the defendant may be punished further, which could also increase your reward. This is known as punitive damages.
Monetary damages will be paid to a successful plaintiff who can prove that the defendant was legally responsible (at fault) for any negligence that caused the plaintiff property damage or personal injury.
A damage reward is sometimes agreed upon with a negotiated settlement, before the case goes to trial. These settlements must be agreed upon by the parties, the attorneys, and the insurance companies involved. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the case will go to court, and a judge will decide the amount of your reward.
Before you can begin to guess what your reward will be, it’s important to know what kind of damages for which you’re claiming compensation.
Damages for which you can claim compensation
Compensatory damages are the most common form of personal injury rewards. They are meant to compensate the plaintiff for what was damaged or totaled, during the accident for which the defendant was at fault.
The parties will attempt to put a dollar amount on the actual damages, which can be tricky if you don’t have an experienced personal injury lawyer. The point of putting a dollar amount on the damages is to reimburse the plaintiff for their losses.
Some compensatory damages are easy to quantify, while others are not so straightforward. Check out some of the more common forms of compensatory damages below:
Most personal injury cases involve some form of compensation for medical treatment. Hospital bills, doctor visits – these items add up fast. If you have sustained any type of injury, it is very important that you seek medical treatment. If you don’t have medical records for your injuries, with hospital bills, your chances at recovery for physical injuries will be severely diminished.
If you’re unable to work, due to injuries sustained in your accident, and lose your ability to earn income, you may be entitled to compensation for future and past wages. This is commonly referred to as “loss of earning capacity.”
Any personal property that is damaged or lost during your accident is potential for compensation. Repairs, replacements, and more, may be compensated for at fair market value.
Pain and suffering
Any pain and suffering that you experienced during the accident, in the immediate aftermath of the accident, or for extended periods of time after the accident will be factored into your reward.
If you have any psychological damage from your accident, you may be entitled to emotional distress compensation. Types of emotional distress include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of sleep
Loss of enjoyment
Many cases involve injuries that deter the victim from participating in everyday hobbies and activities that, in the past, contributed to their happiness and overall enjoyment. If your injuries keep you from your favorite activities, you may be entitled to loss of enjoyment remedies.
Loss of consortium
If the injuries of your accident result in any negativity with regards to your spousal relationship, you may be entitled to consortium compensation. The loss of companionship or sexual relationship are common forms of consortium remedies.
Punitive damages in personal injury cases
When the defendant’s conduct is found to be egregious, or particularly careless, your compensation may include what are known as “punitive damages.”
Punitive damages are designed to inflict extra monetary punishment on the defendant, which, in turn, may deter them from repeating their actions.
Punitive damages are a major source for massive personal injury settlements and verdicts. In many states, punitive damages have caps because they run up so high.
How your actions affect your recovery amount
If you are deemed to have had any partial fault for the accident, that will be reflected in your claim.
If you are found to be at fault (wholly or partially), this can seriously diminish your chances at full compensation.
In some states, if you are deemed to have any fault for the accident, you may not recover any compensation.
Failure to mitigate damages
You need to take reasonable steps toward minimizing your damages, or else the courts may deem that you did the exact opposite. For instance, if you don’t go to the hospital and receive medical treatment, your injuries will not be recorded.
Each case if different
No two cases are the same. Personal injury accident damages are very dependent on the individual parties involved and the specific damages.
Your best bet is to retain an experienced personal injury attorney, who knows how to properly assess your damages, and then put a realistic, yet favorable, number on them.
Once that number is agreed upon between you and your attorney, your attorney will then negotiate with the insurance company to get the maximum compensation for you and your family.
Wilshire Law Firm is home to the best personal injury accident lawyers and negotiators in California.
Our team of legal experts is available 24/7, 365 to take you call and give you a FREE, no-obligation case evaluation.
Call us now: 1-800-522-7274.
It may be the most important call of you life!