Personal injury is one of the messiest areas of the law. Accidents happen, but when nobody wants to take responsibility, lawyers have to get involved. Personal injury law exists to compensate victims for the damages incurred by their accident, which can be many, and difficult to define or quantify.
It can also be hard to adequately attribute blame. When determining the amount of compensation a plaintiff can receive, it is usually broken down into three categories:
This one may seem obvious—personal injury damages awards, after all, should at least cover your injuries themselves. However, in addition to remunerating you for the expenses you have already incurred, you can also expect cash to support any ongoing treatment you may need, including physical therapy, x-rays, equipment, and other accommodations.
Injuries can take you off your feet for a while, resulting in lost income from hours you have been out of work. A serious, disfiguring injury can even prevent you from doing certain kinds of work indefinitely. Your damage award should compensate you for income you have already lost, as well as income you will lose out on in the future. It should also cover damages to your property caused in the accident, such as car repairs.
Pain, distress, emotional damage, and other psychological factors also come into play when estimating personal injury damages. Although they are much less tangible than medical bills and income/property, these are very real outcomes of an accident, and the estimation of their value has strong precedent in personal injury cases. Even “loss of consortium”—i.e., negative effect on your relationship with your partner—can be monetized as damage.
If it can be demonstrated that your injury was not merely the result of an “accident,” but actually malicious or due to gross neglect, punitive damages may be awarded as a direct punishment of the defendant. This is the one aspect of personal injury damage award that is not merely compensatory—they aim to deter this kind of behavior by hitting defendants in the pocket.
Estimating the damages of a personal injury varies greatly from case to case. As you can see, there are many different variables that affect this number. A good personal injury attorney will try to leverage as many of these conditions to your advantage, just as a good defender will try to downplay their importance to reduce the estimate. After all, they only get paid if you do.
If you or someone you know was hurt in an accident, it’s time to call your lawyer! We specialize in Personal Injury, Workplace Accidents, and Wrongful Death suits. Call us today!