personal injury compensation
personal injury compensation
Personal injuries can occur almost anywhere, such as in a car, on someone else’s property, or at work. If you have been injured in an accident resulting from another party’s carelessness and are thinking of seeking compensation, you are probably very curious about how much you can expect to receive. Although circumstances differ significantly from one case to the next, compensation for personal injury claims are almost always affected by the factors outlined below:

Scope and Severity of Injuries

Not surprisingly, the type of injuries you sustained–as well as their level of severity–will impact your settlement amount more than anything else. Injuries of a serious nature obviously result in substantial damages, such as lost income and medical expenses. These are referred to as “special damages,” and include the following:
  • Lost income
  • Medical bills
  • Cost of medication
  • Physical therapy bills
  • Costs of replacement services, such as lawn mowing or other chores you cannot complete due to your injuries
  • Other out-of-pocket costs directly related to your injuries
It is not difficult to add up the total for your special damages, as statements and receipts are required for such items. Your attorney will add up the full cost of your medical bills, even if some or all of these charges are covered by personal health insurance or Medicare.

Determining “general damages,” such as emotional distress and pain and suffering is usually a bit more difficult. This is because there is no objective way to measure such damages. In most cases, once you fully recover from your injuries, you can add an amount totaling one to two times the amount of your special damages to compensate you for pain and suffering. Potentially disabling injuries that result in an excessive amount of pain and suffering may be calculated at a much higher rate. However, these calculations are merely general estimates. Each case is different from the next, which is why it is important to discuss your specific circumstances with a qualified attorney.

Type of Medical Treatment Received

The type of medical treatment you received as a result of your injuries is also a strong factor regarding the eventual amount of your settlement. Medical care is generally acquired in stages following an accident. For example, you may seek emergency care first to obtain an accurate diagnosis, and then be given short-term treatments ranging from medication to emergency surgical procedures. These are usually followed by physical therapy or chiropractic care. Individuals with serious injuries requiring aggressive medical intervention typically obtain higher compensation for personal injury claims than those who only require minimal care.

Compelling Evidence

The final amount you receive for personal injury compensation is directly affected by the level of evidence you can produce to support your claim. This evidence is used by you or your attorney to prove that the insured party was responsible for your injuries. In addition, you also need evidence that supports the severity of your injuries and that you endured pain and suffering as a direct result of the accident. The more powerful your evidence is, the more compensation you are likely to be awarded.

For this reason, your medical records and bills are valuable evidence that should be kept organized and forwarded to your attorney. Videos, photographs and police reports are also very helpful. This is true regardless of whether or not the case goes to trial or is settled through out-of-court negotiations. Statements from credible witnesses go a long way toward proving your case as well. It is also a good idea to obtain time clock records or a statement from your employer if your injuries affected your work attendance. Even a personal diary about the injury, your pain, and the various stages of your recovery can be introduced as compelling evidence.

Location of the Accident

The location in which the accident took place can have a considerable impact on the amount of compensation you are awarded. Insurance adjusters frequently take this factor into account when determining a settlement amount. This decision is usually based on statistics. For example, if the area where the accident took place is statistically more favorable to injury victims than insurance companies, the adjuster is more likely to offer you a substantial settlement to keep the case from going to trial. This is to avoid the risk of a jury or magistrate awarding you an even larger amount when the case could have been settled out of court for less money. Many times, attorneys research previous jury verdicts concerning cases with similar circumstances to yours. Not surprisingly, there are no guarantees regarding a trial. Nevertheless, researching past verdicts on similar cases in your area can give your personal injury attorney a general idea of the potential value of your claim.

Insurance Limits

Insurance policy limits may keep settlement offers low. In other words, insurance companies do not offer settlements that go beyond the limits of the policy, even if the case is worth significantly more. Because insurance adjusters often use technical terms, it is usually better to have your lawyer speak to such individuals on your behalf.

Legal Representation

Hiring a qualified attorney can greatly affect the outcome of your personal injury suit. Those who turn their cases over to a lawyer typically receive settlements or awards that are much higher than the amounts awarded to those who pursued their claims without the help of a professional. Therefore, it is probably unwise on the part of any claimant to file a lawsuit without the advice of a legal expert. Personal injury cases may appear black and white, but often become complicated. Therefore, if you choose to proceed without an attorney, you may quickly find yourself feeling panicked or overwhelmed. However, what may seem scary or intimidating to a layperson is not apt to be disconcerting to a lawyer whose experience lies in this field.

If you believe you deserve personal injury compensation, it is never wise to attempt to handle your claim without assistance. Rather, you should contact one of our qualified attorneys at the Bodden & Bennett Law Group and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your case is in the hands of an expert.

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