It’s important to understand that there are a number of factors that determine the value of any personal injury claim. It may seem as simple as a jury awarding a figure, but that figure is based upon a number of things. We’ll be exploring those below.
The Factors Considered in an Award for a Personal Injury Claim
The primary factor that will be considered in any personal injury claim is medical expenses. Here you will be looking to recover any money that’s been spent paying for doctor’s visits, rehabilitation, medication, and things of that nature. Often, this is confused for damages awarded for pain and suffering, which will be considered separately.
Personal injuries frequently lead to victims missing work. In some cases, missed work may be minor, and in other cases, it might be more extreme. In either case, a victim can seek compensation for any income that was lost as a result of the accident and injury suffered.
Loss of property will be another factor that makes up the value of your personal injury claim. For example, if you were in a car accident, then you would be entitled to seek compensation for the value of your vehicle (if it was totaled) or for the cost of any repairs that needed to be made.
In some cases, punitive damages may be a part of your personal injury claim’s value. These are assessed in cases where the actions or negligence of the defendant are so egregious that the jury (and court) feels the need to punish (thus the term “punitive”) the defendant for those things.
The final factors that will be considered are more subjective in nature. These include loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium and emotional distress. Loss of enjoyment pertains to whether or not the injury you suffered has kept you from doing or participating in things that you enjoy. Loss of consortium pertains to ways in which an injury may have caused a victim’s relationship with his or her spouse to suffer. Finally, emotional distress is what it sounds like – it has to do with the emotional impacts of suffering the injury, for example, fear, anxiety or sleeplessness.
The above are the key factors that determine the value of any personal injury claim. However, the laws vary from state to state in a number of different ways. For example, there are many states that determine the awards in personal injury cases based upon a “comparative negligence” standard. In these cases, whatever a jury might award is mitigated by what percentage the jury judges the plaintiff to have been at fault for the accident that transpired. Beyond this, there are a number of different ways in which the laws governing personal injury claims can vary.
So, make sure that you speak to the lawyer handling your case about the laws in your particular state. This will help you to understand the kind of trial (or settlement) that might lie before you, as well as what you can reasonably expect in terms of compensation following the resolution of your case.