When you sustain injuries in a car accident or slip and fall or some other kind of injury while lodging a claim might be your goal, you must first ascertain the value of the claim to judge how much it is worth pursuing. This is especially important if you are filing a personal injury lawsuit. The value of case equates to the damages that you can claim which means that you must figure out the monetary value to assign to the injuries undergone physically and mentally. The payment for damages to the victim or plaintiff is the responsibility of the person legally responsible for causing the injuries and damages, i.e. the defendant and his or her insurer.
The parties involved in the accident, besides the plaintiff and defendant, an accident attorney Baltimore Maryland and insurance company might agree for a negotiated settlement. If such settlement is not possible, then filing a lawsuit is the only alternative and expecting the judge or jury to pass an order for compensation after a court trial. The chances of going for a court trial arises only in a few cases that are a complex and high value when either the plaintiff is not happy with the settlement by the insurance company or the insurance company scents some foul play and prefers to involve the court.
Although personal injury lawyers do the damage assessment based on actual incidents and records available, it is important for clients to have some idea about the types of damages and its valuation process.
Damages can be on many types, but it all belongs to the category of compensatory damages because it translates into the value of losses that the plaintiff has undergone as a result of the accident. The damages translated into monetary is supposed to make good for the losses suffered by the plaintiff that should be good enough to make him or her ‘whole’ again, if not physically at least from the financial perspective as much as possible. In simple words, assigning a monetary value to what has happened from the accident.
Some physical damages which are tangible in nature are easy to assign a monetary value by using supporting documents like medical bills or assessing damage to property. However, it is not easy to evaluate pain and sufferings in monetary terms. Similarly, it is hard to state the monetary value of a person’s inability to pursue hobbies as a result of being unable to continue with it due to the accident.
Here are some compensatory damages that usually are part of personal injury claims.
The main component of personal injury damages is the cost incurred by the victim for medical care and treatment for the injuries sustained in the accident. It includes the cost of treatment that you have paid so far and reimbursed by the defendant or insurer together with the estimated cost to treatment that you must continue in future to recover from the injuries fully. The figures are available from the medical bills and accompanying documents for expenses related to the process of recovery from injuries.
Usually, vehicle damage is the major component of loss of property together with some other items damaged in the accident. You should receive reimbursement for the amount spent in repairing the vehicle or compensation for the fair market value of the thing that is beyond repair or lost.
If the accident results in your inability to continue earning as you might be unable to go to work for some time, the compensation will include the amount that you were unable to earn due to absence from work. Ideally, it will compensate you for loss of income during the period when you are unable to work. In addition, it will consider the money that you could have earned in future but could not due to the accident. In legal parlance, this is known as loss of earning capacity of the victim.
Pain and suffering
Besides the cost of medical treatment for injuries, you can qualify for compensation for pain and suffering underwent during the treatment. Pain and suffering referred here include both physical pain and suffering as well as mental agony and anguish that causes pain and suffering of a different type. The latter type includes the mental trauma and emotional distress of the victim which despite being subjective can still be a part of the total damages like pain and suffering. Everything from anxiety, shock, and humiliation to anger, fear, and loss of enjoyment in life can be a part of mental pain and suffering.
Loss of enjoyment
It is likely that due to the injuries from an accident you must stay away from exercise and other recreational activities as well as many other day-to-day hobbies. All such deprivation amounts to a loss of enjoyment for which you can receive compensation.
While accidents are stressful and cause mental agony, some serious accidents can be highly distressing and damaging emotionally as it leaves deep psychological scars. The injury might be so traumatic that it can result in sleep disorder and sleep deprivation as well as anxiety and fear. According to some state laws, emotional distress is part of pain and suffering undergone by victims.
Besides affecting the victim with bodily injuries and causing psychological damages, the effects of accidents can impact the personal lives of victims especially their relationship with the spouse or partner. They might be unable to maintain a sexual relationship or could be suffering from the loss of companionship. The accident can even impact the relationship between a parent and child when anyone is the victim, and the compensation is paid to the affected family member.
In addition to the above if the defendant is too much careless, there are high chances that the plaintiff is likely to receive some additional damages known as punitive damages besides the compensatory damages. Although the victim receives compensation, the aim for awarding such damages is to punish the defendant so that it acts as a deterrent. However, it is like a bonus for the victim.