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What is a personal injury case?
- July 27, 2016
Personal injuries can take many forms. The most common include a car accident, a slip and fall accident, or some other workplace or store injury. In truth any accident that affects an individual personally falls under the classification of a personal injury. Most of these types of injuries provide the basis for a personal injury case.
The Basics of Personal Injury Cases
When personal injuries occur, this is the time to see a Los Angeles injury attorney about a personal injury case. These cases involved monetary damages that the plaintiff, or injured person, receives from the defendant. Defendants are individuals or companies that the court determines to be legally responsible for the events that led to the accident.
There are two ways that damages can be determined. In one case, the two parties may come to a settlement agreement through negotiation. This typically involves either the individuals and/or company themselves, their lawyers, or their insurance agencies.
The other means of determining damages involves a jury or judge ordering compensatory damages after a court trial occurs. The losing party ends up paying court costs as well as all damages which the court orders. This is why negotiated settlements generally end up costing the responsible party less in the long run than a lengthy and often times expensive court battle.
Types of Compensation in Personal Injury Cases
The majority of personal injury cases fall under the designation of compensatory. This means that their goal is for the aggrieved plaintiffs to receive compensation for their losses because of their injuries or accident. This type of award is intended to see the injured party made whole again financially, so much as he or she can be. It involves placing a dollar amount on all of the unfortunate results from the accident.
Some parts of compensatory damages are simple to calculate. Medical bills and property damage reimbursement are set dollar amounts after all. More difficult to determine exactly are loss of enjoyment in life from long lasting injuries or pain and suffering conditions. In most cases, the various types of damages considered and awarded in personal injury cases include the following:
Income – If individuals lose wages or income from the accident and its impacts on their abilities to work, they are often able to receive compensation for this. This includes not only money already lost but also money that could be made through future work if it were not for the injuries from the accident. This is typically referred to as loss of earning capacity compensation for the accident victim in legal terms.
Medical treatment – The overwhelming majority of damage awards on personal injury cases cover the medical care expenses that result from the accident. This includes financial reimbursement for treatment the victim has already received, as well as monetary compensation for medical care cost estimates on future treatments for the results of the accident.
Loss of property – when vehicles, clothing, or other kinds of personal items become damaged because of the accident, injured plaintiffs typically will receive reimbursement for either repairs or fair market value replacement of the property that suffered damages.
Emotional distress – More serious kinds of accidents often involve damages for emotional distress. This refers to the psychological effects from the injuries received. These might cover anxiety, fear, and loss of ability to sleep. A number of states link this emotional distress with the pain and suffering award category.
Pain and suffering – Depending on the severity of the injuries sustained in the accident, victims may be able to recover monetary damages for the significant discomfort they received because of the accident and the related suffering afterward. This includes pain from injuries that do not entirely heal after the accident.
Lost enjoyment in life – Some injuries will restrict the plaintiffs from normal day to day enjoyment of activities such as exercise, hobbies, and recreational activities. These may contribute to compensatory damages for lost enjoyment.
Lost consortium – In these personal injury cases, lost consortium refers to the effects that such injuries cause in the victim’s physical relationship with his or her wife or husband. This could refer to an inability to have sexual relations or lost companionship. Sometimes these lost consortium monetary awards go straight to the aggrieved family member instead of the accident victim.