Understanding Compensation in Injury Claims
Posted in Lawsuit on March 29, 2017
Costs associated with injuries are expensive. Time out of work, hospital bills, and other side effects of preventable incidents often leave injury victims with the short end of the stick. Civil lawsuits give injured individuals the ability to financially recover from serious and preventable incidents. Damages will not eliminate the harm an incident causes, but they can make the aftermath more bearable.
Types of Damages
Most personal injury claims involve the determination of three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Every state imposes different rules for the types of damages. Some place limits on the recovery amount available under certain categories. The state of Missouri does not currently restrict damages the courts award in personal injury cases.
Consider the types of compensation for each category of damages:
Economic damages are quantifiable. Much like balancing a financial account, you can present documents, receipts, and invoices to prove your economic losses. Economic damages will cover costs including:
- Medical treatment. An insurer or jury may provide compensation to cover the cost of surgeries, initial and follow-up appointments, physical therapy, rehabilitation, medical supplies, transportation, and more. Keep all receipts and statements from injury-related medical treatment. If you can prove the loss, you may recover compensation for it.
- Property damage and loss. You can receive fair market value for repair or replacement costs for property damage. Vehicle repair work, loss of personal property, and clothing/personal belonging damage all fall under this category. Keep records, images, and damaged items to prove property damage and loss during a claim.
- Income and future wages. Many incidents take individuals out of work, either temporarily or permanently. The incident’s impact on your actual income and income-generating capabilities qualify for recovery.
- Funeral expenses. In wrongful death claims, survivors can recover the expenses of the funeral and burial of a loved one.
- Disability costs. Some individuals will suffer permanent injuries as a result of an incident. If you must modify your home, pay for the support of an in-home caregiver, or pay for other permanent disability costs, you may recover reasonable costs in a personal injury claim.
Non-economic damages. Losses from an accident extend beyond the quantifiable expenses incurred. These numbers are often difficult to calculate. Juries award non-economic damages based on the facts of a case including the age of the victim, the amount of suffering, marriage status, general health, and work history. Non-economic damages cover quality-of-life losses associated with an injury, including:
- Pain and suffering. Courts will grant this based on physical and emotional pain; the plaintiff must prove the impact of an injury on their life.
- Loss of consortium or companionship. This category looks at a victim’s relationship with others. The jury will award damages based on expected changes in marriage and parenting.
Punitive damages go above and beyond reasonable compensation to punish the defendant. Granted in cases involving gross or egregious negligence, this monetary award serves as an added punishment and a warning to others.
Factors that Determine Damages
Many factors contribute to the types and amounts of damages awarded in a personal injury claim. For example, a child and an adult who suffer the same debilitating injury under the same circumstances might receive differing damage amounts. The child might suffer more considerable long-term losses than the adult. In addition to age, earning capacity, education, health, the severity of the incident, comparative negligence rules, the jurisdiction, and other factors will all alter the damages available.
A personal injury attorney serves as more than a legal representative during an injury case. Legal professionals who understand local laws, their clients’ cases, and the psychology of trial law can help injury victims obtain fair compensation.