After an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, you are usually entitled to compensation. What this means, however, is different in every case. Depending on the circumstances of your accident or injury, there may be several types of compensation–also known as damages–which you may be able to pursue.
When an accident results in an injury which requires treatment, hospitalization, physical therapy or rehabilitation, these types of damages can be recovered from the insurance company of the person who injured you.
One important consideration when thinking about the amount of money needed to cover your medical bills is that once a settlement or verdict is reached in your case, that amount is final. If you discover later that you need additional treatment, you cannot re-open your case and ask for more money. For that reason, it is important to work with both an attorney and your doctor(s) to determine what type of treatment you may need in the future.
If your injury caused you to miss work, or resulted in a physical disability which prevents you from working, you can recover damages for lost wages. These damages can include past wages, which you lost while you were recovering, and future wages, which you would lose if your injury prevents you from working.
Determining an appropriate amount of damages for lost wages can be a complicated legal issue. While calculating the amount of money you lost by not being at work is relatively simple, figuring out damages for future lost wages can be tricky. This is especially true for younger people, who may have had decades of potential work ahead of them.
In addition, in the event of a death, the family of the deceased can seek compensation for the money that their loved one would have contributed. For example, if the family’s main breadwinner is killed in a car accident, his or her family has a right to compensation for that person’s lost earnings as well.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Damages for pain and suffering are awarded as compensation for the emotional toll that an injury takes on a person’s health and wellbeing. While pain and suffering damages are not always available, they do make up a large part of the compensation a person receives after an accident.
Some auto insurance policies contain a provision which waives a driver’s right to pain and suffering damages, except for in cases of very severe injuries. These provisions also apply to the insured’s family, which means that it is extremely important to know if you have unknowingly waived your rights. Often, policies which advertise low monthly premiums contain these types of waivers.
In some cases, the person who caused your injury may have been driving so recklessly or negligently that a judge or jury may award punitive damages. This type of compensation is meant to punish the wrongdoer for his or her behavior. These damages may result when a driver caused an accident while intoxicated, or after an assault. An experienced personal injury attorney like Stephen Garner, Esq. can advise you if punitive damages are available in your case.
It is always best to hire an attorney to represent you in your accident case, especially if you have sustained injuries. An attorney can help you to maximize your recovery and better defend you against liability if you’re at fault. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Murphy & Garner, LLC, offer free consultations to all injured people and their families. Our attorneys will evaluate your case, and let you know what your legal options are – whether that means a negotiated settlement or a personal injury lawsuit.