How Much is a Personal Injury Claim Worth?
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- How Much is a Personal Injury Claim Worth?
April 27, 2017
When a person is injured because of another’s negligence, he or she could be compensated through a personal injury settlement or verdict reached during a courtroom trial.
Personal injury claims are considered a civil action, which means that instead of the defendant facing criminal charges and possible jail time, he or she is charged with compensating any personal and financial losses the plaintiff suffered.
This is known as compensatory damages, which fall into two categories: special and general damages. It is important that you know the specific damages you suffered because of another’s negligence, and understand how this can be used to maximize a claims’ worth.
What Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Do for Me?
To better understand the damages that can be listed in a claim, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following your accident.
A skilled attorney will be able to explain what a personal injury claim is and determine if you are entitled to damages, while providing an accurate estimation of its worth.
An attorney can also ensure you meet Arizona’s requirements to file a personal injury claim, such as meeting the two-year statute of limitation.
What are Special Damages?
Any substantial financial loss you may have experienced after an accident is referred to as special damages.
Special damages include those that are documented and easily calculated, which makes it simple to make an accurate estimation for a personal injury claim. These damages are included in four categories of financial loss.
Immediately following an accident, many personal injury victims suffer from severe conditions that are often followed by serious medical expenses.
All visits to a medical practitioner, hospital bills, medical tests and prescribed treatment should be documented and can be used to possibly fully reimburse the victim.
This documentation starts directly after your accident and continues until the present day for all medical costs associated with your injury. It may also be possible to obtain compensation for future medical bills.
A serious injury may prevent you from working or limit your ability to perform the functions your previous job required.
Filing a personal injury claim against the defendant for his or her negligence may reimburse you for all lost wages and income that would have been earned had the accident never occurred. This can begin from the start of your injury until present day and may continue into the future.
Lost income is determined by documented proof of your regular rate of pay, the hours you lost and the total amount of income you lost because your injury prevented you from working.
Out of Pocket Expenses
You may amass several expenses caused by your accident that would not have occurred otherwise. This can include:
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications
- Medical aids and equipment like crutches, slings or wheelchairs
- Gasoline and driving expenses
- Rental car payments if you were in a car accident
- Legal fees
Starting from the day of your accident, you should keep receipts of any expenses related to your injury and treatment. It also may be possible for you to estimate any future out-of-pocket expenses you may expect to accumulate.
Personal Property Damage
A personal injury claim may also include any personal property damaged from the accident. This could be any damage inflicted upon your vehicle during a car accident and could include the cost of repairs or an estimated value of your vehicle’s worth if it was totaled.
You can also be reimbursed for smaller property items damaged or lost in the accident, such as a laptop, cellphone or jewelry.
You should have a documented list of all items affected by the accident as well as receipts to help prove your claim.
Apart from the financial losses you might have experienced, you may also undergo intangible suffering for which you can be compensated as well, referred to as general damages.
These damages cannot be assessed based on documented proof or adding bills or receipts, and are not always awarded in settlements and verdicts reached in court.
Instead, general damages are subjective and often left open to interpretation and negotiation. It will take an experienced personal injury lawyer to accumulate evidence that proves you are suffering from one or several types of general damages.
Pain and Suffering
This refers to any severe pain and discomfort or deviation from your normal life that has occurred since your accident and may extend into the future.
Pain and suffering is determined by the type of injury you sustained and its estimated duration. If your injury has caused you to suffer a high amount of pain and your medical practitioner expects it to continue, your personal injury claim may increase in value.
Each injury a person sustains in an accident is unique and incomparable to another’s. The types of treatment and medication you are prescribed, along with the nature of the injury and its recovery rate will need to be thoroughly analyzed in order to determine the compensation you are owed for your pain and suffering.
Many personal injury victims who have survived a severe and traumatic accident suffer from psychological distress and emotional disturbances, such as:
This may require you to see a psychologist or psychiatrist to obtain a mental health assessment and receive a diagnosis for your condition.
After you have been diagnosed by a mental health practitioner, you have documented proof that shows the seriousness of your mental suffering. This may help factor the cost of your general damages and raise the value of your claim.
Loss of Enjoyment
A serious injury or distress caused by an accident may lead to loss of enjoyment of the activities, hobbies or social interactions with friends, family and loved ones that were once a major part of your life.
Compensation for loss of enjoyment will depend on the value you placed on these activities and interactions and the ability to prove that you no longer possess the ability to enjoy them after the accident.
You will need to convey the importance these enjoyments once held to you by using emotional language or testimonies from others who understand the role it played in your life before you were injured.
Loss of Consortium
A severe injury can have a significant impact on your personal life and may affect your relationships with your loved ones, spouse or partner.
Loss of consortium often occurs when an injury causes sexual dysfunction or tension within your family leading to divorce or strained relationships.
Establishing that you suffer from loss of consortium may require you to prove your injury resulted in a medical disability or that you were severely disfigured because of the accident.
Insurance companies may also require proof from your spouse or partner, such as a written testimony with intimate details of how the accident and your injury strained the relationship.
A court may award additional damages to a personal injury claim in situations of gross recklessness or maliciousness, referred to as punitive damages. These damages are only reserved to be awarded at the courts discretion.
Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim, but rather punish the defendant for behaving in such a gross manner and to deter the defendant and others from repeating the action.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured because of another’s negligence and are considering filing a personal injury claim, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers will review the details of your claim and determine if you it entitles you to legal action and the ability to pursue damages. Our initial consultation is free and comes with no obligations of hiring our firm.
We are dedicated to helping our clients and protecting the rights of injury victims. Our attorneys work only on a contingency fee basis, which means all legal and investigative work we do on your behalf comes at no cost. We only require payment if we reach a fair outcome for your claim.
Call 1-800-706-3000 if you were injured because of another’s negligence.
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