How are Personal Injury Damages Determined?
A jury once awarded the family of a victim $150 billion after an 8-year-old child was attacked and left with burns covering 99 percent of his body. While the verdict itself was symbolic in nature, it shows that personal injury cases can cost a defendant a large sum of money. How are personal injury damages determined in such cases? This is where a personal injury attorney can help.
Medical Bills are Generally Covered
In most car accident, slip-and-fall, and other personal injury cases, a victim will need to spend time in the hospital or otherwise see a medical professional. Victims could also need physical therapy to overcome their injuries and medication to help control pain, seizures, or other symptoms. As a general rule, an accident victim is entitled to be reimbursed for medical costs incurred prior to a jury award or settlement as well as those incurred afterward.
Lost Wages and Future Earnings are Included
If an accident victim has to miss work to recover from injuries suffered in its aftermath, he or she could be entitled to any wages lost as a result. Those who are unable to go back to work could be able to pursue earnings lost because they can no longer make a living. Lost future earnings awards may be reduced if an individual is able to find part-time work or other employment outside of his or her former profession.
Punitive Damages Hold Powerful Entities Liable for Their Actions
While an individual could be required to pay punitive damages in a personal injury case, these are designed more for corporate defendants. The goal is to make sure that they can’t consider a settlement the cost of business when they make a mistake that leads to an injury or death.
They are also designed to discourage other companies from thinking that they could get away with taking similar action in the future. For instance, a company that’s punished for failing to inspect its fleet of trucks could discourage others in the industry from not inspecting their fleets properly.
What Damages are Available if a Person Dies?
If a person dies in an accident or as a result of injuries sustained in that accident, family members of the victim could file a wrongful death suit. A jury could award the costs of final expenses, lost future earnings, or other damages to the victim’s family. In some cases, a survival action is deemed to be more appropriate.
This allows an individual’s estate to pursue damages incurred before a victim passed. Working with a personal injury lawyer may make it easier to determine what action to take in such a scenario.
Are Victims Entitled to Damages for Emotional Distress?
The answer to this question depends on the type of accident that caused the injury to occur. If a person is hurt in an automobile accident, each party may have to file a claim for damages with his or her own insurance companies. Therefore, those who seek mental health services may have that lumped in with other medical bills that they’re reimbursed for.
However, in other cases, it may be possible to pursue such damages if a link between the accident and an economic loss because of emotional distress can be shown. A personal injury lawyer may ask a victim to keep a journal or otherwise keep detailed mental health records. These records should describe what the person is feeling and how they resulted in a financial loss.
How do Statutes of Limitations Impact the Chances of Recovering Damages?
Those who are thinking about pursuing financial compensation in a personal injury case are urged to do so before the statute of limitations runs out. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations in both personal injury cases and medical malpractice cases is two years. Your personal injury lawyer may be able to tell you more about how the statute of limitations works and how it could impact your ability to obtain compensation.
If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, car crash, or any other type of accident, it could be worthwhile to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. You can contact a personal injury lawyer at the RAM law firm by coming to 111 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 or by calling (732) 247-3600. We also have another location at 21 North Bridge Street, Somerville, NJ 08876 where we can be reached by phone at (908) 448-2560.