If you’ve suffered a personal injury, whether it’s physical or emotional harm, because of someone else’s negligent actions, you may be eligible for fair compensation. Not only is it important that victims understand what that means, but it’s essential that it’s fully understood how much personal injury cases are worth. Here is everything you need to know about successfully recovering damages (and how a lawyer can help).
Breaking Down a Personal Injury Claim
The amount of compensation you can get for a personal injury depends on the severity of harm, the time to recover, the cost of all medical expenses, and all other costs incurred as a result of the accident. This is a breakdown of what you can expect from a personal injury settlement by working with an accident attorney:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Property damage
Keep in mind that fair compensation covers all expenses you may encounter during your recovery. This includes any physical and emotional pain that was suffered following the incident. And, if your injuries are severe enough to cause a long-term disability, you could be eligible for further compensation.
Many other reimbursable areas are often overlooked, like lost wages, which are just as important to recover. If you’ve lost money because you couldn’t work, it’s more than reasonable to ask for compensation. However, such losses must be proven. These all come together to form a damages formula.
What Is a Damage Formula?
It’s a method to formulate the amount in damages the accident caused a victim. In addition to monetary debt, the loss of social, family, or educational experiences plays into this formula, as well as any emotional damages. While there is not an exact formula to account for damages, losses can be determined with an experienced personal injury attorney’s help.
At the start of your claim, an insurance company or insurance adjuster will add up the total medical expenses to treat all sustained injuries. This is the start of figuring out how to compensate for the claim. Medical damages are referred to as “specials,” and other damages are called “general damages.”
The adjuster should multiply special expenses by 1.5-3 times the cost of the expenses for minor injuries, and up to 5 or more for more severe and long-lasting injuries. They will add this to the cost of lost income, and this number becomes the basis from which settlement negotiations begin.
What Is Fair Compensation?
Fair compensation should cover both past and future medical expenses. For example, if you need a treatment plan, as well as future pain management and physical therapy, the insurer should take that into account. There are two things to keep in mind with damages formulas.
- One is that the value calculated through the formula is just the starting point. It doesn’t have to be the end number, and it should rarely ever be. You are more than justified in adding your legal expenses to this number.
- Second, several things play into the final damages formula, and all contribute to the final settlement, or compensation, given.
For example, the more painful your injury, the higher the formula should be. The more invasive your treatment, the larger your compensation should be. And finally, the more visible and scarring your injuries are, the more you should receive as part of your claim.
Ultimately, fair compensation must account for more than covering immediate costs. Long-term physical and emotional damage must also be taken into consideration too.
How Long Can a Lawsuit Take?
This is an important question, as there is no one exact answer. Basically, the time to settle a case will depend entirely on several factors. The key factor is the time it takes for you to recover. For less serious injuries where liability is clearly apparent, you could expect it to take a few months or less. However, more severe cases involving amputation, extensive surgery, and rehabilitation could take months and even go to trial.
Additionally, if the insurance company is unwilling to offer a settlement (and many will be unwilling) your attorney will need to file a lawsuit to get them to agree to a fair amount. Because every accident is unique, there isn’t an exact figure, but working with a car accident lawyer will improve your chances of maximizing compensation.
How Settlements Are Paid Out
Once all parties have come to an agreed amount, the matter of payment takes precedence. The insurance company will either pay the money out over time, and this could help you cover ongoing expenses related to the accident. They could also offer a lump sum, which is typically reserved for smaller amounts.
In large cases, it’s more likely that the insurer will pay out over time, which protects both them and you. Like anything in a personal injury case, it is all dependent on several interconnected variables. The process will become very complicated.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
Insurance companies are notorious for paying out as little as they possibly can, and it is often to your detriment. A personal injury lawyer can make sure you’re getting the fair compensation you deserve. Sometimes, an insurance company will even invalidate your claim and refuse to pay a settlement.
In these cases, you need a lawyer. In fact, it is highly recommended to consult with an as soon as possible to avoid jeopardizing your claim. Working with a personal injury lawyer means you have someone in your corner at every step of the way. You want someone to fight for you, not against you. Contact The Law Offices of Daniel Kim to learn how to best approach your case and get the fair compensation you deserve.