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What Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
- July 26, 2016
If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident, a slip and fall, workplace mishap or other injury and want to file a claim, you’re probably wondering what the real value of that claim is. The simple answer is that the claim is worth the total damages you incurred. The more complex answer involves looking at the various aspects of your claim that determine those damages.
Your medical bills are usually one of the easiest components to calculate, but there may be some estimation required. That’s because damages include all medical expenses derived from the accident. In other words, if you fell and broke your ankle but also suffered back discomfort, your damages would include all of the doctor visits and treatments required to heal both your ankle and back completely.
Rehabilitative Care Expenses
The damages owed to you for medical purposes aren’t limited to direct care for your injuries. Those injuries may have resulted in conditions that require ongoing professional attention, and that expense is covered as well. In the situation considered earlier, your recovering ankle may require rehabilitation because it led to a gait that’s putting undo strain on your back. Treatment from a sports therapist and chiropractor, for instance, would both be included.
Another aspect of damages is lost income. There’s both current and future lost income. Let’s focus on current first. This component includes all of the wages and other income sources that you lose out on because you were disabled, at the hospital, visiting a doctor or therapist, meeting your attorney and so forth. These damages can even extend to potential lost income due to opportunities you may have had.
Future Lost Income
Concerning future lost income, the law looks beyond your recovery and rehabilitation period. If there are lasting ramifications from this injury that effect your ability to earn, then the worth of your claim can include the income you’d lose out on throughout your life as well as any interest on that money, potentially. In the earlier example, if your injury forced you from the production floor to an office job that paid less, then that difference would be accounted for here.
Any property lost or damaged as a result of the accident, such as a car and belongings inside of it, are included as well. Eligible property is assessed via its replacement value, which means that it’s assessed based on the cost to replace rather than a current value factoring in depreciation.
Pain and Suffering
This component covers any significant pain and even discomfort discovered during and after the accident. These damages are above and beyond medical and rehabilitative care expenses. In other words, the pain from a broken ankle and subsequent walking difficulty is separate from the medical and rehabilitative care needed to overcome the injury.
Emotional distress is similar to pain and suffering except that it covers the emotional side of pain rather than the physical aspect. All of the fear, anxiety and other negative emotions you felt during and after the injury have real value that is accounted for here.
In personal injury cases that involve egregious neglect or other outrageous behavior, punitive damages can be added on top of compensatory damages in order to serve as a deterrent in the future. The cap for punitive damages for personal injuries are usually capped by state law.
Determining the worth of your personal injury claim be a complex problem. You shouldn’t attempt to determine that value on your own or rely on the word of an insurance adjuster. Instead, seek guidance from an personal injury attorney who specializes in personal injury law. The lawyer can help protect your interests and legal rights and assist you in coming up with a figure that truly reflects your situation.