Each and every day, people get hurt. It’s a sad fact, but a true one, with many innocent individuals hurt in auto accidents, workplace incidents, or something as simple as slipping and falling on a wet floor.
Countless injuries of all kinds occur in these ways and others, and they can vary in severity from relatively mild cases in which the affected individual isn’t too hurt to far more serious situations where severe medical issues result from the negligence or carelessness of others.
When this happens, many people consider filing a personal injury claim and trying to seek fair compensation for the pain and distress they’ve endured. There are a lot of questions associated with this process.
Many people want to know how long the case will take, how much money they can get, and so on, and one of the most common questions is about how personal injury claims are calculated in the first place.
How does an insurance company or jury work out how much money you deserve after getting hurt? This guide will help you understand.
No matter what sort of injury you suffer or how it happened, you’ll suffer some form of ‘damages’. Damages is a term used in insurance and legal circles to refer to losses of some kind, and there are two distinct types of damages for people to be aware of: special damages and general damages.
Special damages, also sometimes referred to as economic damages, are measurable amounts of money you lost and will lose in the future because of the negligence or recklessness of the party that caused your injury. Examples of special damages include things like medical bills, lost wages, transportation fees for your medical appointments, damaged or destroyed personal property, and costs for services you may need while incapacitated like housekeeping and childcare.
General damages, meanwhile, are sometimes referred to as non-economic damages, and they’re a little vaguer in their definition. They’re essentially the incalculable losses you have endured and will continue to endure from a physical and mental standpoint. Examples of general damages include emotional distress, stress, depression, anxiety, loss of confidence, sleep loss, physical pains, and more.
So how are the different types of damages calculated and how is it decided what your claim is worth? Well, the calculation process for special damages is relatively simple, as these kinds of losses have a clear financial value.
Therefore, all that needs to be done is the process of working out how much money you’ve lost or had to spend in terms of your medical treatments, the property that was damaged or lost, the services you’ve required, and the wages you’ve missed out on collecting.
The total amount of special damages is usually calculated first, and this is where the foundation of your personal injury claim is formed, so it’s vital to have bills and receipts for medical care and so on in order to generate an accurate sum.
Calculating general damages is much more of a complicated affair, as there is no clear, objective dollar value for sensations like physical pain and mental trauma, and people can experience these sensations and emotions very differently.
One person might be in an auto accident and suffer newfound phobias, loss of self-esteem, and insomnia, for example, while someone else in the same accident may not experience any of those same mental effects, but could have physical pain from whiplash or a fracture.
Usually, general damages are valued at up to twice as much as the general damages, so if you want a rough estimate of your general damages, take the total calculation for special damages and double it.
In some cases, however, general damages can be much higher, but it all depends on the specifics of the case, and this is where a personal injury attorney can prove to be so helpful in guiding you through the process and helping you get the compensation you deserve.
The personal injury process is a complicated one, and many people head into the process with little to no experience or expertise, so aren’t sure what to expect, what to do, and how they should act in order to get the result they want.
Even something that may seem simple on the outside, like calculating the level of compensation you receive, is actually a very intricate and complicated process, and the specific payouts for each case can vary greatly, based on a wide number of circumstances. Having a lawyer by your side will help to make the process more understandable and less stressful.