What is Your Personal Injury Damages Case Worth?
If you are pursuing or intend to lodge a personal injury lawsuit, the question of the worth of your lawsuit must cross your mind at one point or another. A personal injury lawsuit can be lodged for a fall, car accident, dropping objects and so on. This can only be best answered by looking at the physical, mental and monetary damages the injury has caused.
When you lodge a personal injury lawsuit, you become the plaintiff seeking redress from the entity (individual or company) liable for the injury. The other entity is the defendant. The compensation can be negotiated out of court in a settlement, by both parties’ lawyers. The lawsuit can also proceed to a full trial before a judge or a jury. There are different kinds of damages and awards differ for damages and are influenced by the plaintiff’s actions or inaction.
What are compensatory damages?
Compensatory damages seek to remedy the harm done to the plaintiff by fixing a monetary figure on the damages suffered. The complexity of fixing a monetary worth on damages differs. For example, a medical bill is easy to quantify, but the limitations in intimacy comfort caused by an injury are difficult to quantify.
Some of the common compensatory damages include:
- Medical treatment.
This is reimbursement for costs incurred in treatment. It also includes projected costs of the treatment that will be needed in future due to the injury.
This is compensation done for not being able to work and earn a salary or wage. This amount includes projections of money you would have been able to earn in future if the injuries did not happen which is called “loss of earning capacity.”
- Property loss.
Items like clothing, jewellery, and vehicles etc. that were damaged from the accident are supposed to be reimbursed. The compensation can be for repairs done, or purchase of a new item depending on the fair market value of the item.
Compensation for Pain and suffering
You may be compensated for pain and suffering caused by the accident, including continuous or chronic pain from the injuries. Pain and suffering fall in different categories:
- Emotional distress.
This is compensation done for psychological troubling caused by the injuries. This could be anxiety, disturbing flashbacks, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder syndrome.
- Loss of enjoyment.
This is described as the limitation that the plaintiff suffers as a result of the injuries. These enjoyments include recreational activities, sports and hobbies.
- Loss of consortium.
This is suffering brought on the plaintiff by limitation to have normal relations with a spouse or intimate partner, for example, inability to enjoy sex. The definition of consortium relationships differ from state to state, for example, some states consider a parent-child relationship as one that offers companionship.
What are punitive damages awards?
A court may find that a defendant was excessively careless which prompts the court to slap on punitive damages awards on top of the compensatory damages wards. This is to punish the defendant for this carelessness. Most states have a ceiling on punitive damages awards
How do the Plaintiff’s Actions or Inaction affect awards?
The court may find that the plaintiff contributed to his injuries. This can lead to a lower award. This includes:
- Comparative negligence.
This is where the plaintiff is partly responsible for the accident. The court will account for the degree of fault when considering the award.
- Contributory negligence.
Some states have the concept of “contributory negligence” which can make the court fail to make any awards if the plaintiff contributed to the accident.
- Mitigation of damages
The court expects that the plaintiff takes the necessary steps to limit the damage, for example, seeking immediate medical treatment after an accident. If the plaintiff is found to be negligent of his conditions, the awards may be lowered.
Get legal assistance
It is always appropriate to consult an attorney at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates when lodging a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney can make your case more successful leading to higher awards.