This article discusses how the nature and severity of the injuries affect the settlement or award in your personal injury case.
Types of damages in a personal injury case
If you sustained injuries or losses due to another person’s negligence or mistake, you might be awarded two types of damages in a personal injury claim: compensatory and punitive.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault/negligent party to deter others from doing the same. They are rarely rewarded in personal injury claims and don’t directly relate to the nature and severity of your injuries.
Compensatory damages are meant to compensate you for your injuries. They compensate you for physical injuries, nonphysical injuries, medical bills, and lost wages due to the injuries.
Physical injuries include sores, bruises, bleeding, internal injury, swelling, fracture or breaking the bone, etc. The more severe the sustained injuries and the more they are, the higher the award or settlement.
The type of injury also determines the amount received. For example, suppose the incident led to a permanent disability, broken bones, disfigurement, or a loss of consciousness. In that case, the settlement may be higher than if the injury was minor, such as soft tissue injuries.
Compensation for physical injuries is mostly to reimburse you for monetary losses due to the physical injury, including travel expenses to obtain medical care, surgery, co-pays, physical therapy, necessary modifications to your home, etc. It includes all past, present, and future expenses used to treat the injuries.
If the physical injuries cause you to lose time from work, or they disabled you that you’re unable to work entirely or in the same position, you can also claim to be compensated for the lost wages.
Common types of physical injuries include burns, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries.
Nonphysical injuries occur as a result of physical injuries. You could feel them physically or emotionally. Nonphysical injuries that are felt physically include pain, discomfort, suffering, and numbness.
Nonphysical injuries felt emotionally include depression, stress, or anxiety. The physical injuries may also prevent you from doing what you were used to doing, or you may miss important trips, vacations, and occasions.
These issues, and others like them, are bundled under “pain and suffering,” They typically make up a significant part of the award or settlement in a personal injury claim. The more severe your physical injuries, the more the effect they will have on your general life, which leads to more compensation for your pain and suffering.
While you can prove most physical injuries yourself, you need a skilled personal injury attorney to help you prove the nonphysical injuries. They are harder to assign a value to and require lots of evidence to prove, including depositions and expert testimonies.
Even if you feel okay after the incident, your Columbus personal injury attorney will consult experts to determine whether there’s a possibility of any pain flare-ups or reoccurring nightmares or thoughts of the accident. These future effects of the injuries are also considered when calculating your damages.
Like physical injuries, if you sustain nonphysical injuries that require medical care, such as depression that needs therapy, you are compensated for the care and transport costs to see the doctor. You are also compensated if you have to take time off work due to nonphysical injuries.
Why you need a lawyer
Although there are attorneys who give a rough figure of how much money you are likely to receive, unless they have studied the specifics of your case, they are likely making an estimate, albeit educated, but the actual figure could be way high or lower than their estimate.
The amount you can recover in a personal injury claim is determined by the nature and severity of your injuries, which almost always differ in every case.
Working with an attorney from The Jones Firm will enable you to receive the maximum settlement or award. They will help you collect all the evidence, consult with experts, build a strong case, and represent you in negotiations with insurance adjusters who don’t have your best interests in mind. Their experience and objectivity can be invaluable as you pursue a settlement or award for your injuries.
- Apart from injuries, what else affects your personal injury settlement or award?
The amount you are awarded is also reduced by your percentage of fault (comparative negligence), outstanding medical bills, and your attorney’s fees. Suppose you and your personal injury attorney pursue punitive damages, your settlement or award increases. Additionally, the defendant’s insurance policy won’t offer settlements over the policy limits.
- Is it better to settle or go to court in a personal injury claim?
Settling out of court is faster and less stressful, and you are guaranteed an award. Trials are expensive and time-consuming, and there is no certainty of winning. However, your lawyer will assess the value of your claim and advise you whether the settlement is worth it. If it isn’t, you can pursue a more significant award by taking it to court.