Being seriously injured in an accident often has life-altering effects. Beyond the initial medical concerns and expenses, a serious injury can negatively impact your overall quality of life and well-being.
If you find yourself in this situation and you think someone else is to blame for your injuries, it's best to educate yourself about your rights. One of the first steps you should take is to learn about the different types of damages that insurance companies - and the courts - take into consideration when determining a damage award.
Types of Damages
After an injury, some losses can be easily calculated; things like medical bills and property damage are quantifiable expenses. However, there are some types of damages, such as pain and suffering, that aren't so easily quantified.
Here's a quick look at the different types of damages that you may be entitled to.
Medical expenses aren't limited to the immediate aftermath of the accident. If you suffer any ongoing issues resulting from the accident, your expenses related to follow-up care should be factored in as well.
Loss of Income
An injury can prevent you from performing the functions of your job. Even if you have short and long-term disability insurance, it may not be enough to cover your entire salary. For this reason, any lost wages that result from your injuries should be included in your settlement.
Another thing that should be taken into consideration is the loss of potential future wages. If your injuries prevent you from fulfilling your work duties for an extended period of time, you're due compensation for this lost income as well.
Pain and Suffering
If you experience a great deal of pain or discomfort following your injury, you should be compensated for it. In addition to physical pain, any emotional trauma resulting from the accident should be taken into consideration - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, for instance.
Quality of Life
A serious injury can have a big impact on your ability to enjoy your life. If your injury affects your social life, hobbies, marriage, or any other aspect of your life, those effects should be factored into your settlement amount.
In more extreme cases of negligence, or if the defendant's actions are thought to have been intentional, a judge or jury may award punitive damages to the plaintiff. These damages are intended as a kind of punishment for the responsible party.
Ways to Support Your Claim
Having evidence to support your claim is a cornerstone of recovering compensation for your damages. Here are ways to support your personal injury claim.
Take Photographs and Notes
Whether you're negotiating with the insurance adjuster or testifying in court, you'll need to know specific details about the accident and your injuries. Make sure you take pictures of the aftermath of the accident and any injuries you received if possible.
Keep a journal to document the progression of your injuries, along with how you're feeling both physically and emotionally. You'll be glad to have these notes down the road because they may help your claim.
Do Your Own Math
It's a good idea to have a figure in mind when negotiating with the insurance company. You can use a personal injury calculator to get a general idea of what your losses are worth. However, you should also consult with a personal injury attorney. Calculating damages is often complex.
Don't Rush to Settle
The last thing you want to do is take the first settlement offer you get. Since the insurance company is motivated to settle the claim for as little as possible, it's important that you avoid rushing to settle.
Consult an Attorney
Consult an Attorney
If your injury is severe and you think there is a potential high-dollar settlement at stake, you should consult with a personal injury attorney right away. An experienced attorney can likely help you negotiate a bigger settlement than you would receive on your own.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, contact Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Garrety, P.C. for a consultation.