One of the first questions clients ask during a personal injury claim consultation is “what is my case worth?” Calculating damages – or the amount of monetary compensation secured through a settlement or court award –can be a difficult task until you’ve been properly assessed by healthcare professionals for your injuries, treatments and ongoing medical care needs.
As any competent personal injury attorney will tell you, there is no set formula used to determine damages in injury lawsuits, as each case will have unique factors and circumstances. After all, your pain and emotional suffering—including anxiety, depression, sleep loss and other life-altering trauma — will never be the same as another plaintiff’s. After your attorney has gathered pertinent information and records from your doctors and health care providers, he or she will have the means to offer a more precise assessment of your injury claim.
Calculating personal injury damages
The vast majority of personal injury claims, particularly those arising from car accidents, workplace injuries or slip and falls, never reach the trial stage. In fact, more than 90 percent of claims are settled by insurance companies or the defendants out of court. So how do both parties attach a dollar figure to your injuries, diminished quality of life and other related losses? The nature and severity of your physical injuries will have one of the most significant impacts on the value of your case.
Other factors that will affect your legal recovery include:
- “Hard injuries” like broken bones, severe burns, spinal cord damage, etc. tend to net higher recoveries compared to “soft injuries” like whiplash, torn ligaments and muscle strains
- Long-term prognosis for recovery: will you need future surgeries and require ongoing doctor and hospital visits?
- Has the injury impacted your ability to work or perform normal daily tasks?
- Will you need a walker, wheelchair or other medical device?
- Your age and overall health at the time of injury. A 30-year old claimant may get a higher damage award compared to a 65-year old claimant
- Loss of income due to your injuries
- Did the accident cause permanent disfigurement or disability?
- Are you unable to return to work, therefore affecting your future earnings?
- Have you suffered from emotional trauma such as PTSD, anxiety, concentration problems?
- Has your partner and/or children suffered a lack of care, guidance or companionship because of the accident?
In general terms, personal injury compensation tends to be much higher in cases involving catastrophic injury (brain damage, amputation, broken hips), long recoveries, partial or permanent disability and loss of future income.
Types of compensation available
Your attorney should always fight for fair and full compensation to reimburse for the following economic and non-economic losses incurred:
- Past, current and future medical expenses– this includes all hospital and ambulatory expenses, doctor’s visits, therapy, and medical care treatments rendered to date, in addition to money for anticipated care needs for the foreseeable future
- Past and future lost wages– a settlement or verdict will always consider the total amount of lost income as well as loss of earning capacity
- Out of pocket expenses – including transportation costs to get to and from your doctor’s appointments, medication costs, crutches, parking fees, etc.
- Pain and suffering– this award is considered “special damages” and accounts for the types of psychological trauma that has disrupted your life. This may include grief, inconvenience, fear, anxiety and the loss of the enjoyment of life.
- Loss of consortium– In many cases, a serious accident impacts not only the claimant, but their spouse and children. These damages account for the loss of care, support, intimacy and guidance that the family would have received if the injury had not occurred.
Maximize your personal injury compensation in Louisiana
If you were harmed because of another person’s careless actions or negligence, you may be eligible for compensation through the courts. Lafayette personal injury attorney Bart Bernard offers the skills, financial resources and legal expertise to achieve the best outcome possible in your case.
Schedule a free case review in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles or Lafayette by calling today.