When you’re harmed due to another person’s negligence or even malicious intent, then you may have a personal injury case. Following a personal injury case, you can be eligible for certain types of compensation. Unfortunately, insurance companies like to take advantage of victims by offering a settlement that doesn’t accurately reflect the compensation they’re eligible for. They bank on your ignorance of the law to pressure you into taking the first settlement they offer. That’s why knowing precisely what compensation is available following a personal injury case is essential.
- Economic Damages
A personal injury can take many forms, including car crashes, dog bites, slip and falls, product liability, medical malpractice, and more. Regardless of the accident, there’s probably going to be some economic damage involved. Economic damages generally carry an exact dollar figure that allows you and your attorney to determine the compensation you should receive. Economic damages can cover areas including the following:
- Medical expenses, including hospital stays, prescriptions, modifications to your home, medical equipment, and more.
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including travel expenses.
- Property damages—for example, if your car is damaged during a crash.
- In the case of wrongful death, funeral costs.
- Lost wages, job rehabilitation, and disability benefits.
- Non-economic Damages
Not all costs carry an exact dollar figure. However, there’s a lot involved in a personal injury case besides the cost of medical treatment and repairing someone’s car. Non-economic damages can cover factors like:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress, including the development of disorders like PTSD
- Overall reduction in one’s enjoyment in life
- Loss of sexual functions
- Reduced sex drive
- Blow to one’s reputation
- Inability to connect with people
- Temporary or permanent disfigurements that affect self-esteem
Determining how much a victim should receive for these above factors and more isn’t an exact science. Generally speaking, however, attorneys and court systems will look at similar cases and what victims received to provide what they deem a fair settlement. It’s also important to note that most personal injury cases are settled outside the courtroom. The main reason is that it costs time and money for both parties. Additionally, court cases can be unpredictable. An attorney can come in what they believe is a “slam dunk” only to find the judge ruling in the other party’s favor.
- Punitive Damages
Economic and non-economic damages attempt to make a victim “whole” and “complete.” Punitive damages, on the other hand, are used to punish the person that caused harm. In some cases, the law may even use punitive damages to make an example out of this person to deter similar incidents from occurring. Generally, for punitive damages to apply, there typically needs to be clear evidence that a person intentionally exercised negligence or malicious intent. A typical example could be a drunk driver not only engaging in drinking while driving but also exhibiting aggressive driving.