Understanding the Different Types of Compensation Available in a Personal Injury Case
After an injury, the road to recovery is often costly and time-consuming. When car accident victims would otherwise be advancing their careers and enjoying their personal lives, they’re instead tending to their injuries and struggling with financial damage that results from a personal injury. All the while, their medical bills are piling up and opportunities are passing them by. An accident cannot be undone, but injured parties can recover for various types of losses they may have incurred as a result of an accident or illness.
Below, we have laid out the different types of compensation available to those involved in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The three most common types of damages are: economic damages, noneconomic damages, and punitive damages.
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Economic damages are the financial costs associated with an injury. They are typically more straightforward than other damages because they can easily be proved and easily calculated, where as other types of damages may not have an obvious dollar amount. Economic damages include things like medical bills, lost wages, property damages, replacement services, and surgeries.
Medical bills include the costs of diagnostic testing such as blood work and X-rays, doctors appointments, medicines, hospital stays, and outpatient care. The price of travel to receive care can also become extensive. After a car accident, you may anticipate needing care long beyond the length of your legal case. Those future expenses are recoverable as well.
Personal injuries lead to hospital stays, therapy appointments, and doctors’ visits that can temporarily take you away from work. In worst case scenarios, you are left permanently unable to earn a living. Even when you are able to return to your job, your injury may prevent you from earning as much as you once did. That’s why you can seek compensation for both recovery time and potential future earnings.
When you first think of property damage, you probably start calculating the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle. You can recover expenses for other property as well including personal items or equipment that you were transporting at the time of your accident. An out-of-control car could also damage a fence, building, or other structure you own, which of course would need repair or replacement.
Grocery shopping, cleaning, and driving are just a few of the everyday tasks that could become impossible to do with an injury. The cost of food deliveries, maid services, and transportation are some of the replacement services the liable party can be held accountable for.
Accident-related injuries may require life-saving surgeries or corrective procedures to ease pain or restore mobility. You may also need plastic surgery operations to fix scars or other adverse changes to your appearance.
Accidents can add obstacles and take away joys from your everyday life. These losses, or noneconomic damages, are generally more difficult to calculate. Noneconomic damages include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of the ability to do certain tasks.
Pain and Suffering
The type of injury you have sustained and the nature of your medical treatment influence the amount that you are going to be able to get an insurance company to pay for pain and suffering. Insurance companies generally calculate this amount as a multiple of the economic damages that you have incurred. This generally amounts to one and a half to five times your economic damages.
Two factors commonly affect the pain and suffering calculation. The first is the medication you have been prescribed. The type of medication can indicate the degree of your pain and suffering. Negative side effects from the drugs can also be considered. The second factor in determining pain and suffering is the length of recovery from your injuries.
Emotional distress is all the non-physical ways you suffer after an accident. This type of damage is often rolled into pain and suffering. Some forms of emotional distress are loss of sleep, loss of concentration, the mental stress of worrying, PTSD, and flashbacks that cause you to relive the painful accident.
You can provide your own testimony of these events, and family members and friends can also testify to this. It is a good idea to keep a journal of these incidents so that they can be used as evidence during negotiations or in court during your personal injury trial.
Loss of Abilities
What amount of money is worth never picking up your child again? Would you exchange being able to play with your children for any sum of money? There is simply no way to quantify these irreplaceable experiences. If you had to try, the dollar amounts would likely be high. When an accident robs you of these joys and abilities, it is possible to seek financial compensation.
In some cases, a jury may award an injured person(s) punitive damages. As the name suggests, punitive damages are awarded to punish the at-fault party for their misconduct, deliberate negligence, or malice. The idea is to punish the company or person for the misconduct in order to give them incentive not to do it again and to discourage other companies or persons from doing something similar.
This type of damage is rarely awarded because the at-fault party has to display malicious intent or outright careless behavior. For example, a judge or jury may award punitive damages if a company knew their product caused injuries, like say a medication, but continued to sell it anyway. This often a case of putting profit above public safety. However, most situations that cause injury or illness are unintended, and thus, punitive damages are not appropriate.
Many states have created caps or limits to restrict the amount that can be awarded for punitive damages. In Florida, personal injury case punitive damages are restricted to three times the compensatory damages, or $500,000.00, whichever is greater.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Following an accident, insurance companies employ every tactic they can to reduce or deny paying injured victims fairly for their damages. They know the average person might not be aware of the various types of compensation available and they take advantage of this fact. Insurance companies often offer victims a small sum very early on to entice victims into taking less than their claim is worth. In the moment, $5,000 may sound like a lot, but your claim could be worth much much more. This is one type of tactic that an experienced personal injury attorney could help you to avoid.
The personal injury attorneys at The Eberst Law Firm have an unrelenting approach when it comes to recovering for victim’s losses and damages. Our thorough legal experts will take a comprehensive look at the details of your personal injury case to make sure you are fairly and fully compensated.