Personal Injury Claims Compensation: What Can You Expect?

Personal Injury Claims Compensation: What Can You Expect?

You can claim damages if you’ve been involved in an accident caused by someone’s negligence. One of the first things you may want to know when filing your personal injury claim is how much compensation you can get. For that, you must understand how claims are calculated and the two distinct types of compensation: general and special damages.

General damages refer to intangible losses, including compensation for physical pain and psychological trauma. Meanwhile, special damages are compensation based on actual financial losses, including medical expenses, property damage, and loss of wages. This article will help you understand personal injury claims and compensation.

Understanding Personal Injury Compensation

When someone else’s negligence causes physical or emotional harm, you may be eligible for personal injury compensation. However, it is important to remember that every case is unique and may result in different damages.

Compensation is generally categorized into two types: general damages and special damages. Each ensures that the claimant’s losses are accounted for in their entirety.

General Damages

In general damages, compensation is given for pain, suffering, and loss of amenities, which is the loss of ability to do things you used to do before the injury. Compensation is primarily determined by the severity of the injury, with more severe claims meriting higher compensation amounts. Damages to soft tissues, for example, would not be rewarded at the same level as brain damage. Physical and psychological trauma are included in general damages.

If you cannot return to work after an injury, you may be entitled to additional compensation under general damages. You may be able to claim anticipated future loss of earnings if the injury changes the type of work you do or otherwise affects your ability to work.

Furthermore, you may be eligible for a claim if your injury has affected potential bonuses or raises. In addition, if your injury has prevented you from driving, riding a motorcycle, or riding a bike, you can also claim these expenses.

Special Damages

Special damages, or out-of-pocket expenses, are financial losses after injury. In these cases, compensation is calculated based on any financial losses sustained by the claimant up to the date of settlement or trial. In addition, compensation is calculated based on any potential future losses.

Examples include the following:

  • The costs of rehabilitation and medical treatment
  • Earning capacity and earnings loss
  • Modification costs for home or vehicle
  • Indirect expenses, such as travel costs to medical appointments

Collecting and presenting evidence is crucial in calculating a personal injury compensation claim. Evidence such as medical records, witness statements, financial records, and expert opinions is essential for substantiating a claim. Not only does this evidence prove that the injuries exist and are severe, but it also links the injuries directly to the incident in question.

Factors Affecting Calculations of Compensation Amount

Many factors influence the final amount awarded in a personal injury claim. These factors can help you understand how to calculate a personal injury claim and why compensation levels vary.

Some of these critical factors are:

  • Severity and type of injury: The nature and extent of injuries mainly sustained determines compensation amounts. Serious injuries typically result in higher compensation since they are more expensive to treat, take longer to recover, and result in greater pain and suffering.
  • Emotional and psychological impact: Injuries are not always physical. Psychological trauma, such as anxiety after a car accident, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, can also be factored into compensation calculations. Compensation amounts can be significantly impacted by the severity of the psychological injury and its impact on an individual’s daily life.
  • Loss of wages and future earning: If the claimant cannot work due to the injury, compensation may include an element for lost earnings. Losses resulting from an injury may cover both past and future earnings. When calculating future losses, whether or not the injury might lead to premature retirement is considered.
  • Medical and other care expenses: A personal injury claim usually includes reimbursement for medical expenses incurred directly because of the injury. Treatments, medications, and rehabilitation are included in this cost. The compensation calculation can also account for future medical care needs, such as ongoing treatment, surgery, therapy, and specialized care.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses: These are additional costs incurred by the claimant due to the injury. These expenses may include travel expenses to medical appointments and costs related to home or vehicle modifications to accommodate the injury. In addition, they may include other incidents related to the injury.

Typical Compensation in Personal Injury Cases

The amount of compensation awarded in a personal injury case depends on the facts of the case. At least in theory, compensation is based on damages caused. Due to this, it can be difficult to estimate compensation even in similar cases. For example, an accident resulting in a broken arm will be different from one resulting in a severed hand.

Here are some of the most common amounts awarded in personal injury claims as per a study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics:

  • A minimum of $24,000 was received by half of all plaintiffs.
  • Across all cases, the median award was $31,000.
  • Auto accident cases were awarded a median amount of $16,000.
  • A median award of $90,000 was awarded in premises liability cases, where a property’s owner or landlord is responsible for injuries sustained due to its condition.
  • Medical malpractice cases resulted in an average award of $679,000.
  • In product liability lawsuits involving defective products, such as medicine with unknown side effects or a lawn mower that explodes when hot, $748,500 was the median payout.

Settlements in Personal Injury Claims

Most criminal cases (about 94%) are settled without a trial and resolved through plea bargains. Civil cases like personal injury lawsuits are the same.

According to estimates, approximately 95% of civil cases settle at some point. Settlement can occur at any stage of the case—from before the case is filed to after the case has been settled (when the winning party offers to negotiate to prevent the losing side from appealing).

Whether before or after a lawsuit, the amount the injured party receives as a settlement is designed to make him or her “whole” again. It is commonly known as compensatory damages. Although it is recognized that many of them will never be able to return to the exact position they were in before their injury, injured parties are only compensated for their losses through monetary settlements.

Upon accepting a settlement offer from the wrongdoer, you release them from liability for your injuries. When you settle your case with a wrongdoer, you agree that the issue is resolved and you can no longer sue them in the future. Thus, it is critical to consult a personal injury lawyer to ensure a fair settlement.