The answer to the question of how much a personal injury case is worth comes down to the damages awarded in the case and the legally deemed severity of the injuries. These damages are how a court determines what your injury has cost you in terms of finances, physical condition, and mental or emotional pain and suffering. One of the best things you can do to maximize the damages you receive is to hire a qualified attorney. Our attorneys:
- Will fight for the maximum allowable compensation for you
- Ensure you are treated with dignity & respect
- Will seek to win the compensation you deserve, fast so you can focus on recovery
Damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit are paid by the person or business responsible for the injuries.
In some cases a settlement is negotiated between the plaintiff and the defendant (usually through their attorneys and insurance providers), while in others the case goes to trial and the settlement is ordered by a judge or jury.
What follows is a complete explanation of many common types of damages awarded in personal injury cases, as well as how your actions and inaction can affect the damage awards.
Compensatory damages are the most common type of personal injury lawsuit awards.
These are awards that are meant as compensation for whatever was lost by the plaintiff as a result of the accident and injuries suffered.
The intent of compensatory damages is to make the person complete once more from a financial standpoint. Of course, this can be difficult because it entails putting a dollar figure on all the effects of an accident and injury.
While some compensatory damages are easy to arrive at, for example lost wages and medical bills, others are more difficult to arrive at.
How do you place a monetary value on the suffering and pain caused by an injury?
How can you correctly value the lost opportunities or decreased enjoyment of life that occurs because of permanent or disfiguring injuries?
Yet that is exactly what judges and juries attempt to do when awarding compensatory damages.
To illustrate, we have compiled a random sample of jury verdicts and injury settlements below:
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- Medical Costs: Because there are almost always medical costs associated with a personal injury claim, these are the most commonly awarded damages. The court will award an amount equal to your current medical costs as well as compensation for any ongoing or future treatments associated with your injuries.
- Lost Wages: In many cases your injuries will have impacted your ability to work and earn a salary. Damages for lost wages are common too, not only for the money you have already lost as a result of the injury, but also any salary or wages you would have earned in the future were it not for your injury.
- Property Damage: If you had damage to any property (automobiles, clothing, personal effects), you will be compensated for the fair market value of these items.
- Pain and Suffering:While it can be difficult to place a monetary value on your pain, you may be entitled to compensation for any pain suffered as a result of the accidental injury, as well as compensation for any pain you may experience in the future that is a direct result of the injury.
- Emotional Suffering: As with pain, emotional suffering can be difficult to quantify in terms of dollars. Still, if you have suffered emotionally or mentally as a result of the accident you may be entitled to compensation for that suffering. These awards are typically for more severe accidents and can include compensation for anxiety, loss of sleep, and fear experienced as a result of the accident.
- Enjoyment loss: If your injury is permanent or disfiguring and causes a loss of your normal hobbies, exercise or other recreational pursuits you may be entitled to damages for loss of enjoyment.
- Consortium loss: These are damages awarded for any loss of relationship with your spouse. This can include sexual relations as well as companionship. In some states the impact on a parent/child relationship can also result in damages due to consortium loss. In some cases, the damages for consortium loss are awarded to the affected spouse or child rather than the plaintiff.
Punitive damages are awards that are meant to punish the defendant for particularly heinous conduct or excessive carelessness or recklessness.
Because these damages are meant as a punishment they are arrived at quite differently from compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are meant as a deterrent to future behavior that could cause similar accidents, not only to the defendant but also to others who might engage in such reckless behavior. It is not unusual for punitive damages to exceed tens of millions of dollars most notably in wrongful death lawsuits and due to this some states have instituted caps on punitive damage awards.
If you have been injured due to negligence, it is often imperitave that you come forward, and join the fight to prevent the circumstances of your injuries from happening to another.Review My Case Now
There are situations where the plaintiff's actions may have contributed to the accident, or their inaction after the accident may have contributed to injury. These situations can result in a lower settlement in a personal injury lawsuit. Here are some of those situations:
If the court determines that you were even partially at fault for the accident your award will reflect that responsibility. Most states link damage awards to degree of fault in an accident or injury.
There are only a few states that have the concept of contributory negligence, but in those that do you may not be eligible to receive any compensation if it is determined that you had any fault in the accident.
Failure to Mitigate Damages:
Most states have stipulations that make the expectation for plaintiff's to minimize the amount of loss they experience following an accident. If it is determined that you did not take some action that could have reduced the impact of the accident on your finances or injuries you could be faced with a reduced level of damages being awarded.Review My Case Now
If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence or recklessness of another person or business, contact our attorneys today for a free no obligation legal review of your case. We guarantee you will be treated with the dignity and respect you deserve. If your case qualifies, we will fight to see that you receive full and just compensation under the law.