Published in Personal Injury by Chris Eskew on June 19, 2017.
Indianapolis Injury Attorneys Fighting for Compensation for Injury Victims in Indianapolis
A serious injury costs much more than you might realize.
Not only do you have medical expenses, but you have lost wages, mileage to and from doctor’s appointments, the time taken away from your family, and your quality of life decreases. For permanent injuries or disabilities, you might feel as though you are helpless. You no longer can work, provide for your family, or take care of yourself.
When you do not cause the accident, but someone’s negligence does, you should not deal with the financial burden of your injuries. Instead, you must hold them accountable. You do so through a personal injury lawsuit.
When you file a lawsuit against a negligent party, you seek compensation in the form of damages. Damages are your monetary compensation that helps you recover costs, but also provide you with financial supplementation when you suffer permanent or long-term injuries.
Some compensation is designed to return you (financially) to where you were before the accident. Another compensation punishes the defendant. When you seek compensation, ask your attorney what forms of compensation your case could receive – because not all cases receive the same type or amount.
Special Damages: Economic Damages to Compensate for Your Losses
Special damages are those you document from the day of your accident. These damages add up easily because you have receipts, statements, and out-of-pocket costs. Special damages return you to the financial state you were before the incident. To ensure you receive compensation for your special damages, keep all copies of receipts, statements, and medical records.
The more evidence you have, the easier it is for your attorney to justify your special damage requests. Even if your health insurance pays for these costs, keep your Explanation of Benefits statements to prove what insurance paid.
Some common economic damages include:
- Medical Expenses: After a serious injury, you are entitled to compensation for your medical costs. Medical expenses are typically the largest portion of your special damages and include the past and future medical expenses. They include everything from diagnostic tests to doctor’s fees, ambulances, hospitalizations, surgeries, and prescription medications.
- Lost Wages: When you suffer a severe or permanent injury, you take time off work to recover. Therefore, you have lost wages. Your attorney assesses the number of hours missed by your hourly or salary rate to determine how much in lost wage compensation you deserve.
- Other Out of Pocket Expenses: Multiple expenses come with a serious injury, including over-the-counter medications, medical equipment, parking fees when visiting the doctor, car rental expenses, and the mileage you put on your vehicle to drive to your physician’s office. All these out of pocket expenses are compensable too.
- Personal Property Damage: If your injury occurred in a motor vehicle accident, you could request compensation for damaged personal property, including your car, the cost to repair or replace your vehicle, and personal property damaged or lost inside the vehicle (i.e. computer, cell phone, jewelry).
General Damages: Compensating for Your Suffering
General damages are not easily calculated like special damages. While no monetary amount can help you recover, these forms of compensation are there to supplement and compensate for your pain, suffering, emotional anguish, and lessened quality of life.
General damages include:
- Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering compensation includes the pain you suffered immediately after the accident and suffering you might have in the future as well. Compensation might include future surgeries, additional treatments in the future, prescription medications, and so forth. Permanent or more severe injuries have higher pain and suffering rewards because of how long they affect the victim’s life.
- Emotional Anguish: A severe or permanent injury creates anxiety, fear, depression, and you might even have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result.
- Loss of Enjoyment, Missed Opportunities, and/or Inability to Engage in Prior Activities: The loss of your enjoyment of hobbies, exercise, or spending time with family and friends is compensable, as well as missed opportunities, such as forgoing a planned vacation. Also, additional compensation may be realized if you are no longer able to engage in activities, hobbies, or projects that you regularly engaged in prior to the collision or accident.
When Do Punitive Damages Apply?
Punitive damages are a particular category of compensation. Not all personal injury cases see punitive damages because these damages are reserved specifically for those who are grossly negligent or act maliciously.
If your case qualifies for punitive damages, note that these damages are not there to compensate you. Instead, they are there to punish the defendant and ensure the public knows that similar behavior is not tolerated.
What Cases Qualify for Punitive Damages?
Most punitive damage cases involve larger companies, such as the lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. (Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co.) or lawsuits against manufacturers and brands (i.e. Philip Morris USA Inc v. Williams).
Some instances that might qualify for punitive damages include:
- Defective product manufacturing
- Defective medications
- Drunken drivers
- Malicious intentions (i.e. harming a person intentionally)
- Accidents that result from breaking the law (i.e. drunk driving, texting while driving, and so forth)
Is There a Magic Formula for Calculating these Damages?
No. Typically your attorney and the insurance company negotiate back and forth on what they feel is a reasonable settlement for your injuries.
Sometimes, insurance companies use software that allows them to input your special damages, then a modifier multiplies those damages to calculate general damages, such as pain and suffering. However, all insurance companies are different.
What Compensation Will Your Case Receive? Speak with an IN Personal Injury Advocate
Determining compensation requires years of experience in personal injury litigation and negotiations. No two accident cases receive the same value in compensation. Furthermore, no attorney should tell you that you will be given a specific amount or guarantee that amount.
Accidents and injuries come down to case law, evidence, and the power of that evidence. If you actually want to maximize your compensation and ensure your costs are covered, you need an advocate.
The advocates at Eskew Law are here to ensure you receive maximum compensation. While we cannot guarantee a specific amount, our attorneys work on a contingency basis. Therefore, you do not pay our team if we do not win a settlement.
Schedule a free, no-risk consultation with our attorneys today by calling us at 317-974-0177 or request your consultation online.