Calculate Personal Injury Compensation
If you are injured because of another person or party’s negligence, you may seek compensation for your damages. There are certain factors that influence the exact amount of damages you could recover, including:
- Severity and extent of your injuries
- Treatment and prognosis
- Proof of liability against the defendant
- Comparative negligence
- Negotiations for a settlement
- Judge’s ruling in a verdict
Calculating damages in a personal injury case is complex. It is recommended that you consult a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney to make sure that your rights are fully protected, including your right to file a personal injury claim or personal injury lawsuit for recoverable damages.
There Are Two Main Types of Recoverable Damages
A Fort Myers personal injury lawyer may file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf to pursue recovery for damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Car rental
- Lost pay
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium and companionship
You may notice that some of these damages are easily calculated because they are a fixed amount, such as a bill for a doctor’s visit. Other damages are less tangible, such as pain and suffering. It is simple to add up medical bills and other expenses, but how do you calculate the financial loss of a loved one or the mental anguish after a terrible car accident?
Fortunately, a personal injury lawyer has a deep understanding of liability laws and will make a careful evaluation to get you the compensation that you deserve. These include both specific and general damages.
- Specific damages are tangible expenses such as medical bills, car repairs, or lost wages. Specific damages are supported by receipts, canceled checks, or pay stubs.
- General damages are more difficult to evaluate because they are not within a fixed time schedule or event. For example, pain and suffering is considered a general damage that may last weeks, months, or a lifetime.
Proving Liability Is Vital to Recovering Damages in a Personal Injury Case
A personal injury case occurs when a plaintiff (the injured party) files a claim or lawsuit against the defendant (the party who allegedly caused the injury). The defendant can be a person, company, or government agency.
In a personal injury case, the plaintiff’s lawyer will claim that the defendant acted in a way that caused harm, whether intentionally or irresponsibly.
Personal injury cases stem from any situation in which the defendant’s negligence caused harm to the plaintiff:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability situations
- Workplace injuries
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Defective products
- Dog bites
- Assault or another unlawful act
The plaintiff may suffer both physical and emotional injuries, as well as property damage.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Shows Liability
Personal injuries cannot be calculated until a lawyer has built a persuasive case for compensation. A personal injury lawyer will show that:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care to avoid the accident if possible;
- The defendant breached this duty of care for some reason;
- This breach directly caused injury to the plaintiff;
- The plaintiff has damages from these injuries in the form of medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Your lawyer must show that it is more likely than not that the defendant is responsible for your injuries and therefore your damages.
How Comparative Negligence Affects Potential Financial Recovery
Many states have comparative negligence laws for personal injury cases. Depending on the specific statute, plaintiffs may seek compensation even if they played a minor role in the accident.
However, the total amount of compensation may be reduced according to the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff. Some states only allow you to seek compensation if you are less than 50 percent responsible. Other states have different qualifying structures. A personal injury lawyer in your state is familiar with these laws and can advise you accordingly.
Example of Comparative Negligence Impact on Compensation
If you live in a state that has a 51 percent threshold, you may seek compensation for your injuries and damages if you were less than 50 percent responsible. Your financial recovery would be reduced according to the percentage fault assigned to you by the insurance adjuster or the court.
For example, if your injuries and damages totaled $100,000 and your role in the accident was estimated to be 20 percent, your total compensation is reduced to $80,000. States with comparative negligence statutes believe that this is the best way to balance responsibility for an incident in which both parties contributed to the outcome.
How Personal Injuries Are Calculated
After a lawyer shows liability, it is time to calculate damages and send them to the insurance company or the court. Please keep in mind that there are usually a few rounds of negotiation between the plaintiff’s lawyer and the lawyer for the defendant. Likewise, a judge or jury may award more or less than the amount your lawyer seeks in a trial.
General damages are multiplied on a scale of 1.5 and 5 according to their severity, and an amount is assigned. The following kinds of damage often are a major factor in personal injury claims:
- Pain and suffering refers to constant pain that decreases or deprives the plaintiff from their earlier quality of life.
- Mental anguish refers to the emotional distress that goes with many personal injury claims, including depression, anxiety, fear, insomnia, and other emotional trauma.
- Loss of consortium or companionship applies to how the personal injury affected the plaintiff’s relationships with their spouses, children, and other family members.
We Are Here to Answer Your Questions
Calculating personal injuries is best left to a Florida personal injury lawyer who can accurately assess your situation. Please call the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato at (954) 633-8270 for a free consultation.