How to Claim Compensation for Personal Injury
One of the main reasons people file personal injury lawsuits is because of the compensation they may be awarded. In a personal injury case, the claimant seeks to recover compensation in the form of damages from the person or corporation legally responsible for their injuries. The specific amount of damages is often agreed to during negotiations, but if the case goes to court then it is decided by a judge or jury following the trial.
In either instance, the claimant in a personal injury lawsuit has the potential to come out of it with a significant sum of money, especially when working with a skilled personal injury attorney. To learn more about compensation in personal injury claims, keep reading.
How does personal injury compensation work?
If you suffered an injury caused by someone else’s reckless, negligent, or intentional act, then you may be legally entitled to compensation. That’s where filing a personal injury lawsuit comes in. Personal injury law, and personal injury compensation more specifically, are designed to make the injured party feel “whole” again; to help them return their life to the way it was before the incident. As we all know, an injury can have a serious impact on one’s mental and physical health. From missing work owing to your rehabilitation to being overwhelmed by expensive medical bills, there are several ways in which an injury can disrupt your quality of life. That is why the primary purpose of filing a personal injury claim is to receive compensation for one’s pain and suffering. In these types of cases, a dollar amount is assigned to the claimant’s physical and emotional injuries, and it is this amount of money the claimant seeks to win. If you and your personal injury attorney win your case and compensation is awarded, either through negotiations or in court, the money you’ll receive is referred to as compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the injured party for their pain, which is the opposite of punitive damages that are awarded to punish the defendant. Compensatory damages are divided into two categories: special damages and general damages. Special damages aim to compensate the claimant for monetary losses, such as doctor’s appointments, surgeries, or lost wages, while general damages aim to compensate the claimant for non-monetary losses, like loss of enjoyment, loss of companionship, or a reduced quality of life.
Types of Personal Injury Compensation
Broadly speaking, the two main types of compensation awarded in personal injury cases are compensatory damages and punitive damages. As mentioned above, the category of compensatory damages is then broken down into special damages and general damages. Special damages account for monetary losses and are thus the simplest to calculate. Medical expenses are one of the most common examples of special damages claimed in personal injury cases and can range from hospital bills and prescription medications to emergency medical transportation, physical therapy, and at-home caretaking. In personal injury cases, claimants can seek compensation relating not just to past or present medical expenses but also future costs associated with their injuries. A few other examples of special damages a claimant may seek to recover include lost wages, loss of earning capacity, or lost career opportunities.
In contrast, general damages account for non-monetary losses and are therefore harder to calculate. General damages attempt to assign a dollar figure to intangible circumstances, such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship (in the case of a wrongful death lawsuit), loss of enjoyment, inconvenience, and physical disfigurement or impairment. The way these damages are calculated varies, however, the more severe the physical injury, the more value is generally assigned to non-monetary losses.
Further, it’s worth noting that there is no limit to the number of damages a claimant can seek to recover. For this reason, we suggest discussing your case with a personal injury attorney who can offer their opinion on the most relevant (and winnable) types of damages to your case, and thus which are worth pursuing.
The final type of personal injury compensation is punitive damages. Punitive damages are specifically designed to punish the defendant by setting an example. Though punitive damages are far less common than compensatory damages in personal injury law, when they are awarded, they are typically issued alongside compensatory damages. Punitive damages serve two purposes: to punish the defendant for their actions (which the judge likely believes to be particularly egregious) and to deter others from behaving similarly in the future. They are typically only awarded to defendants who acted extremely recklessly or maliciously, in ways that could have easily harmed others. An example of such behavior is getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Evidence Needed for a Personal Injury Claim
To make your case in a personal injury claim, you will need evidence. You and your personal injury attorney will go on a fact-finding mission, gathering information and evidence you can use to not only prove the severity of your injuries but also that your injuries were caused by the actions of the at-fault party. For example, in some personal injury cases, you and your attorney may seek to prove that the at-fault party acted negligently, and it was this negligence that led to your injuries. The burden of proof is always going to be on the claimant, so it’s your job to prove the at-fault party was negligent. To do this (and increase your chances of recovering damages in your personal injury case), you will need to launch an independent investigation into the accident. Types of evidence that can help you prove your claim ranges widely, but may include police reports, eyewitness statements, photos and/or videos of the scene, medical bills and other medical records, documentation showing missed time at work, and incident reports from a store or other business where the incident occurred.
Now that you know more about how to claim compensation for personal injury, we recommend consulting with a personal injury attorney. Skilled personal injury attorneys, like those at AAESQ Law, can walk you through the entire process of filing a claim and help you decide which damages are worth seeking. They can also help gather evidence, develop an airtight argument, and negotiate a lucrative settlement on your behalf. Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney at AAESQ Law.
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