Personal Injury Damages & Lawsuit Compensation
Category: Personal Injury
From a legal perspective, “personal injury” is a very broad term that includes any accidents that can be blamed on one party—from slipping on a wet floor to a fatal car crash. To cover this wide range of potential accidents, there are many different forms of personal injury compensation.
The type and amount of benefits you receive will depend on the circumstances of your specific situation. Hiring an Indiana personal injury lawyer to help you could significantly increase the benefits you recover from your lawsuit.
Types of Personal Injury Compensation
There are multiple categories of personal injury compensation. The primary two are compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages include any benefits awarded to the individual for something they have been through, lost, or had to pay for. Punitive damages are an additional fee sometimes harnessed to discourage the guilty party from making the same error in the future and/or to warn other parties away from similar negligence.
Compensatory damages can be further broken down into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover all expenses that cost money or cause financial loss. If you can see how much something costs, it will be counted as economic damage. If the value is not quantifiable and must be subjectively decided, it is non-economic damage.
Economic Damages (Special Compensatory Damages)
Economic damages, also called special compensatory damages, are used to repay an individual for the expenses caused by an accident. These allow the victim to get back on their feet without suffering too much of a financial cost.
Both past and future medical costs can be covered by personal injury settlements. The most important thing here is that you keep track of and document all costs. This includes the following expenses:
- Cost of medical treatment (hospital stays, bills, surgery, and tests)
- Costs of doctor’s appointments
- Costs of any necessary medicine
- Increases in the cost of living for accessibility features
- Medical care at your home or a nursing home
- Medical transport during treatment or at the accident (including the ambulance)
- Physical therapy and pain management bills
- Rehabilitation costs
These are some of the easiest damages to argue for because they are direct results of the at-fault party’s negligence.
Lost wages typically refer to the income you may have missed as a result of your injury. If you cannot go to work or perform your regular hours because of what happened, you should be compensated for the money you were unable to earn while you were recovering.
Loss of Ability to Earn Wages
One step beyond lost wages is compensation for the inability to earn in the future. Although this is essentially the same thing, lost wages usually cover what was missed, whereas this will cover anything you’re still going to miss in the future. These payments will be based on the amount of money you normally make and how little you are able to work following your personal injury.
Expenses for Damage of Property
Property can include anything you have ownership over—a house, vehicle, possession, etc. If any of these things are damaged during your personal injury accident, you may be able to recover damages for their repair or replacement. This is especially useful for different types of car accidents, which often result in damaged vehicles.
Loss of Irreplaceable Items
Some items may not be replaceable or fixable. If your personal injury has caused you to lose a possession that was unique, such as a family photo or heirloom, you may be able to recover additional compensation beyond the price of the initial item.
Expenses for Altered or Canceled Trips
If you had a large upcoming trip that you were not able to go on because of your injury, you may be eligible for financial compensation to cover the travel costs. You can be compensated for flights, hotels, outings, etc.
Non-Economic Damages (General Compensatory Damages)
Non-economic damages, also called general damages, are costs that can’t be easily quantified. While some expenses are numerical values that come with receipts or debts, non-economic damages must be agreed upon subjectively.
Calculating general damages can be a difficult task and often involves frequent negotiations between the claimant’s team and the insurance company. These damages are meant to compensate beyond the expenses and provide additional benefits for the pain or trauma caused by the accident.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Any constant discomfort or physical pain that lasts long-term into somebody’s life—for example, if the pain prohibits them from doing certain activities or discourages rehabilitation and physical therapy—may be eligible for additional compensation.
Physical Impairment or Disfigurement
Beyond the inconvenience that may be involved with a physical impairment, disfigurement can also make some aspects of your social and professional life more difficult. If you have to live the rest of your life with a disfigurement or physical impairment because of someone else’s negligence, you can often receive additional compensation for it.
Trauma is a form of emotional distress that can last for the rest of your life and make certain experiences extremely difficult to handle. Those with trauma often struggle to remember the events that occurred without the onset of negative emotions. Compensation for trauma and emotional distress is meant to help the victim continue moving forward or even seek out treatment for their issues.
Lower Quality of Life
This is a payment awarded if somebody’s quality of life is significantly reduced for one reason or another after an accident. The money is meant to, at least in some small part, help make up for the enjoyment that was lost.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium, also called loss of companionship, occurs when a spouse or partner is no longer able to provide the same level of companionship that they could before the personal injury occurred. This can be a very difficult factor to quantify, and is typically only considered in severe instances of incapacitation or wrongful death.
Wrongful Death Damages
An additional layer to both economic and non-economic damages, wrongful death damages are paid out if the victim of a personal injury accident dies as a result. Whether the individual dies right away, or dies after a period of time due to the injuries from the accident, loved ones may be entitled to some of the following wrongful death benefits.
Medical Costs Before Death
Medical expenses that occur until the point of someone’s death are considered economic damages. Benefits covering medical costs before death can help to offset the financial burdens experienced by the victim’s family.
Burial and Funeral Costs
Other economic damages associated with wrongful death are funeral costs. Funerals and burials can be very expensive, especially when unexpected. These benefits can help to ensure the family can give their loved one a proper service.
Anguish of Surviving Family
When discussing the emotional and mental ramifications of a loved one’s death, the compensation is usually categorized as non-economic general damages. The emotional suffering and grief associated with losing a loved one can be near impossible to deal with. These added benefits are meant to help the family move forward after the wrongful death of their loved one.
Loss of Contribution From Income
Another non-economic wrongful death compensation is the loss of contribution from the income of the deceased. This is meant to cover money the victim contributed to the household with their income. This is helpful when the victim was a family’s primary earner.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium/companionship fits into non-economic damages. While the loss of consortium can apply to severe injury cases, it’s typically used to compensate an individual whose spouse died as a result of the personal injury accident. The loss of a relationship can cause extreme emotional distress.
The only other fees associated with personal injury lawsuits are punitive damages. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim, rather, they are meant to punish the responsible party.
The idea is that these fees will ultimately discourage the defendant from acting in the same way again. Punitive damages will usually be tacked on if the court doesn’t believe the damages awarded are substantial enough to deter the guilty party.
For example, let’s say a very large company saves a huge sum of money by ignoring certain safety regulations, and they only have to pay smaller payments when an individual is hurt because those regulations aren’t met.
If these smaller payments don’t end up totaling more than the money the company saves by cutting corners, it may seem financially beneficial to continue ignoring the safety regulations. The punitive damages will make the necessary payments significantly greater so the company can no longer justify ignoring the regulations.
Punitive damages are much more likely to be awarded in cases that involve gross negligence, maliciousness, criminal acts, or extreme financial distress for the victim. Punitive damages are also more common when dealing with very wealthy or powerful organizations that believe they can evade the law. This helps to make an example of companies and encourages other businesses to operate properly.
How to Claim Compensation for Personal Injury
In an ideal situation, the business or individual responsible for your injuries will admit to their mistake and agree to help you in whatever way they can. Unfortunately, there are many people and entities that are not willing to give up any of their income because they’re more focused on profiting. Personal injury attorneys help victims get the money they deserve even when companies are not being cooperative or helpful.
Claiming personal injury compensation involves filing a request with an insurance company stating that you would like money for the problems you are dealing with. The insurance company will investigate the situation to see who was at fault for the accident and determine how much money you deserve for your troubles.
Most insurance companies are not there to protect you, they are there to protect their clients. Although their offer might sound substantial at first, you’d be surprised to find how many hidden fees and costs are associated with personal injury accidents.
When you hire an Evansville personal injury lawyer, they will also perform an investigation of their own and negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive full and fair compensation. You are the lawyer’s client, therefore they do have your best interest at heart.
Our Tuley injury lawyers also operate on a fee-contingent basis, meaning we won’t get paid unless you do.
Working With Tuley Law Office: What Is My Case Worth?
The value of your case depends on a variety of factors. The severity of your injuries, who the responsible party is, and even damage caps on personal injury cases can play a role in the amount in benefits you will ultimately receive.
Partnering with one of our attorneys will allow you to focus on your recovery while we focus on recovering the amount of compensation you deserve for your troubles.
Fill out the contact form on our website or call (812) 625-2113 to reach one of our Evansville personal injury lawyers and learn more about the personal injury compensation you may be eligible for.
Have questions about your case?Contact us