Personal Injury Compensation

A car accident can change your life in just a matter of seconds. Following the incident, make sure to take the correct steps if you are injured. Additionally, it is important to know what sort of compensation you should receive and what exactly goes into determining that amount.

Determining Compensation

If you are injured in an accident, personal injury compensation can be determined by examining:

  • Compensatory damages.
  • Punitive damages.
  • How your actions affected the damages.

Compensatory Damages

Basically, compensatory damages include all of the money owed to you due to personal or emotional injuries you have received from an accident.

Some compensatory damages can be calculated based simply on repayment for loss of money as a result of the car accident. Some examples include:

  • Medical treatment—both present and future.
  • Income loss—both present and future.
  • Property loss.
    • Damage to your vehicle or other personal belongings that warrants reimbursement or repair.

Other compensatory damages can be difficult to define, since they do not always have a concrete monetary value. These damages include:

  • Pain and suffering.
  • Emotional distress.
    • Insomnia, fear, anxiety, or any other psychological impact of the personal injury.
    • Note that some states categorize emotional distress under pain and suffering damages.
  • Loss of enjoyment.
    • Injuries from the car crash keep you from engaging in enjoyable day-to-day activities (e.g. hobbies, exercise, etc.).
  • Loss of consortium.
    • Negative effects that your injuries might have on your marital or familial relationships.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the offender has acted in a brash or careless manner, which in turn led to your injuries. The reparations paid are intended to be more of a punishment for the defendant rather than a reimbursement for you.

For example, if you were hit and injured by somebody who ran a red light, you could receive payment in the form of punitive damages. This is not meant to reimburse you for medical treatment or damages to your vehicle, but is really meant to teach the negligent driver a lesson.

The Effects of Your Actions

Sometimes you might be responsible for your own personal injury, or you may have been careless in dealing with the car accident's aftermath. In these cases, the compensation for your personal injury can decrease.

Such cases include:

  • Comparative negligence.
    • If you are at all responsible for the car accident that inflicted your injuries, the awarded damages will most likely diminish according to the degree of your role in the incident.
  • Failure to mitigate damages.
    • If you do not take the correct measures in reducing the financial impact of your injuries and reparations, your awarded damages may be reduced.

Knowing how exactly you can be compensated for damages in a car crash will help you when it comes to making a personal injury claim in court. But first, you must be sure to hire the correct type of lawyer to represent you.

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Now that you're armed with a basic understanding of compensation and damages related to personal injury, you'll want to ensure you get all the money you are entitled to after an accident. To do this, you should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer.

Each state has its own rules when it comes to personal injury cases. Because of this, it's important to find a personal injury attorney as soon as you can following the accident to help you navigate this legal web. When selecting a lawyer, do your research and make sure to take the correct precautions.

Some of the most common types of personal injury attorney fees include:

  • Contingency fees.
    • Your lawyer will take a percentage of your settlement only if you win the case.
    • If you do not win the case, your lawyer may still collect, but fees will be lower than if you had won.
  • A retainer.
    • A fee is determined and paid upfront in order to retain the services of the lawyer.
  • Hourly fees.
    • You pay your attorney by the hour, which can become very costly.

Take all of this information into account when attempting to claim compensation owed you after being the victim of a car accident. But most importantly, make decisions based on your own personal circumstances and needs.

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