What happens if you become injured due to the negligence of another person – what compensation are you entitled to? Many personal injury cases are actually settled outside of court, believe it or not. Litigation for personal injury may lead to unsatisfying results and can be quite a costly proposition. How is a dollar value put on a personal injury case?
Compensatory Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for what was lost due to the accident or injury. These damages are meant to work on a monetary level to make the plaintiff “whole” again. It is easy to quantify some compensatory damages, such as reimbursement for property damage and medical bills. However, it is not so easy to place a monetary value on things like pain and suffering, as these limitations vary from person to person. Here are some common types of compensatory damages that you may come into contact with:
- Medical Treatment: If you were injured, there was obviously medical treatment associated with your accident. This covers reimbursement for medical treatment you have already received and what you will require in the future.
- Income: Did the accident or injury have a direct impact on your salary and wages? Then you may be entitled to compensation for what you have lost and what you would have made in the future. Income for the future is known as a victim’s “loss of earning capacity.”
- Property Loss: Were vehicles, clothing, or other personal items damaged in your accident? Then you will likely be reimbursed for repairs or compensation for the market value of the property that was lost.
- Pain and Suffering: If you suffer from pain and serious discomfort for your injuries, then you may be entitled to pain and suffering. You may also get compensation for ongoing pain in the future.
- Emotional Distress: Emotional distress damages are meant to compensate a plaintiff for the psychological impact of an injury. This can include things like fear, anxiety, and sleep loss.
- Loss of Enjoyment: Do you no longer enjoy day-to-day activities like hobbies, exercise, and other recreational activities? Then you may be entitled to these damages as well.
- Loss of Consortium: These damages relate to the impact that the injuries have on the plaintiff’s relationship with their spouse. Sometimes, after an accident, there is an inability to maintain a sexual relationship or ability to communicate properly. This covers these damages.
Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are meant to be awarded to “make the plaintiff whole.” These damages apply to cases where a defendant’s conduct was seen from a more malicious point of view. They awarded to the plaintiff but to actually punish the defendant for their actions. They act as a deterrent so the defendant will learn from the action and so will others around them. However, some states have a damages cap that limits the amount on punitive damages.
Framing Your Demand Letter
You and your attorney will work together to frame a demand letter to formalize the matter. Demand letters should always leave room for negotiation, so it is in your best interest to start at the “bottom line” number. You should add up your economic and monetary compensation for pain and suffering and much more that you feel you deserve. The number will then be negotiated.
If you have suffered from an injury, then you may have a personal injury case. But where do you go from there? You should seek the experienced help of an attorney that you can trust. Call WTW today to get a consultation and ask questions about your case that you may later benefit from. Find out more by calling today.