How much is an accident claim really worth? That’s a question that many people ask at their first meeting with a personal injury
attorney. Not surprisingly, the answer isn’t always that obvious, but most experienced personal injury lawyers can accurately predict the outcome of their newest cases. One way to determine how much compensation you can expect is to look at the different types of “damages” available.
In the world of personal injury law, damages are what is paid to the injured party, or plaintiff, by the person or party responsible for the injury (defendant.) In a negotiated settlement, the actual amount of damages awarded will be determined by the parties, their insurance companies and their attorneys, unless they decide to let the judge decide the case in court.
Below is a list of the different compensatory damages available when
filing an accident claim with your attorney. Any damages awarded to the plaintiff in a personal injury case are designed to make the injured party “whole” again, at least from a monetary perspective. While it may be impossible to reverse the health-related implications of an accident or replace property that has been destroyed, but the court will attempt to put a dollar figure on the consequences of what happened. The only difficulty is when they try to place a monetary value on the plaintiff’s permanent disability or lingering pain from an accident-related injury.
An accident claim may result in the following compensatory damages, depending on the situation.
- Medical treatment – this covers the cost of medical care related to the accident or injury. It also includes the cost of medical treatment you will need in the future.
- Income replacement (lost wages) – you may be entitled to this if the accident had an impact on your salary or wages. It includes the income you have already lost plus the money you would have had the potential to earn in the future.
- Property loss – this could include any vehicles, clothing or other items that were damaged or destroyed in the accident. You will be entitled to repairs or replacement costs for the fair market value of the property.
- Pain and suffering – you may be entitled to receive damages for pain and suffering if you have experienced serious pain or discomfort during and after the accident.
- Emotional distress – normally linked to more serious accidents, emotional distress compensates the plaintiff for the psychological impact of a serious injury, including anxiety, fear and insomnia.
- Loss of enjoyment – when an injury keeps you from enjoying your favorite pastimes, such as running, boating, playing with children or traveling, you may be entitled to these damages as well.
An accident claim will not necessarily result in all of these compensatory damages, and the defendant’s insurance company is likely to dispute certain types of compensation, but an attorney can ensure your case is properly presented in court.