How to Maximize Damages in Your Personal Injury Claim
Sudden unexpected injuries are both painful and expensive. Often injury victims are unable to return to work while they’re recovering. In the meantime, household bills continue to come in and medical expenses pile up. Fortunately, the civil courts offer legal recourse for victims of preventable injuries to file a claim for damages. Courts consider the consequences of an injury as “damages” to the victim. These damages include both tangible economic damages and intangible non-economic damages like pain and suffering. When the injury occurred due to someone else’s negligence, reckless behavior, or intentional wrongdoing, the party at fault bears liability for the damages. Financial compensation for damages typically comes from the at-fault party’s insurance policy. For instance, auto insurance personal injury protection (PIP) after a car accident or premises liability insurance after a slip-and-fall accident.
Because injuries are costly, it’s often the goal of injury victims and the attorneys representing them to maximize the damages in a personal injury case in order to secure the largest possible settlement or court award after an accident. Because most reputable Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys take their fees only after securing compensation for their clients, they also have a substantial motive for maximizing the damages.
Customary Damages in Common Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims most often stem from traffic accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, or pedestrians. Many also involve slip-and-fall accidents, workplace injuries, dog bites, or defective product injuries. When an injury causes death, the family members may file a wrongful death claim and seek damages like funeral costs and lost income and benefits. The most common damages claimed in personal injury cases include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses related to the injury
- Past and future lost wages
- Diminished future earning capacity due to a disabling injury
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- PTSD, anxiety, and depression
- Disfigurement compensation or compensation for traumatic limb loss
By carefully calculating the costs of an injury as well as gaining expert testimony to the amount of pain and suffering associated with the injury, a personal injury victim can obtain the maximum amount of compensation. This may come directly through negotiating a settlement with the appropriate insurance company or through a jury award if the case goes to court. Only a small percentage of personal injury cases require court litigation when an insurance company wrongfully denies a claim or seriously underestimates the amount of the victim’s damages.
How Can I Maximize My Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case to Increase The Settlement Amount?
It’s relatively easy to calculate economic damages after an accident. An injury victim can maximize the amount of their payout for these damages by keeping careful records of all injury-related expenses including the following:
- Medical bills and invoices
- Costs of transportation to medical appointments
- Costs of medication, medical equipment, and any required home healthcare
- Lost income
- Disability expenses if the injury was temporarily or permanently debilitating
By careful record keeping, an injury victim can maximize the amount of compensation they can claim for their financial damages.
Maximizing Non-Economic Damages After a Personal Injury
Non-economic damages are also awarded in most personal injury claims. An attorney uses evidence of pain and suffering by calculating an amount of monetary damages based on a formula using medical expenses or on an amount per day for every day a medical expert confirms that the injured individual will experience pain until they reach their maximum recovery. Most skilled attorneys choose a calculation method that achieves the best result to increase compensation.
Injury victims can help provide evidence of non-economic damages like pain and suffering and emotional trauma through the following:
- Keeping a daily journal of their pain level and medical procedures
- Asking family members to provide testimony about the impact of the injury on the victim’s daily life
- Attending sessions with a qualified therapist to address emotional symptoms related to the injury
An experienced personal injury attorney can help injury victims to maximize the damages they can claim in order to increase the amount of compensation they recover in a settlement or in court.