What You Need to Know about Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Cases
If you were injured in an accident due to someone's negligent behavior, you have the legal right to seek compensation to cover your damages. Compensation can be awarded for both economic and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages in special cases.
Types of Compensation in a Personal Injury CaseThere are 2 basic categories of damages awarded in personal injury cases: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are broken down into general damages and special damages, but both seek to reimburse/compensate a victim for the harm they suffered. General damages compensate victims for non-monetary losses such as pain and sufferng, mental anguish and loss of consortium/companionship.
Special damages usually cover loss of present and future earnings, medical bills, cost of present and future medical care, household expenses, basically any loss or expense related to your injuries. Another category to mention is punitive damages, which are awarded in rare cases and are not related to damages awarded for injuries, but to punish the negligent party for various types of aggravated behavior.
How Do I Value the Nature and Extent of My Injuries?The type and extent of your injuries affect an injury settlement more than any other factor in your accident case. A key indicator used by insurance adjusters in settlement negotiations is the amount of money you have spent for assessing and treating your injuries. However, putting a dollar value on pain and suffering is no easy job. Insurance companies for example begin looking at the levels of pain and suffering by connecting injuries with levels of pain.
It is not very scientific or accurate though, but still, insurance adjusters use your type of injury to decide what numbers they are dealing with. Your injury can be categorized as serious or less serious, in which case you will have to prove through other ways that it caused you severe pain and suffering.
Insurance adjusters divide injuries into soft injuries (sprained or strained back/knee/ankle) and hard injuries (broken bones, ligament/cartilage separations or dislocations, head trauma, spine injury, serious cuts/gashes).
Can Something Affect the Value of My Settlement?A so-called multiplier is used and applied in most common formulas made to value a personal injury claim. This multiplier determines how much pain you suffered as a result of your injuries: more pain means a higher settlement offer. There are several factors that can influence the amount of the settlement. For example, a higher multiplier will be applied if you:
suffered a hard and/or permanent injury
require a long-term injury treatment period and a long recovery
face daily life disruptions as a result of the injury
are given prescriptions for medication to treat your injury, your medical expenses are primarily for treatment and if your medical treatment is provided by a hospital, clinic or M.D.
Other factors that could help you receive a higher amount to cover your damages are related to witnesses that might help you, no shared fault for the accident in your case, or a less credible or sympathetic defendant.