Personal injury cases are something that show up in the courtrooms quite frequently in the United States. More than 31 million cases are tried each year so that victims can receive the compensation they deserve. Personal injury cases consist of automobile injuries, slip and fall incidents, animal bite cases, pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice suits and the like. The element of neglect is what makes a victim eligible for compensation under the personal injury umbrella. Many victims wonder if they are indeed edible for personal injury compensation. Those who find that they are eligible for compensation sometimes want someone to quote a compensation figure.
Qualification for Personal Injury
A victim should always consult with an experienced attorney about his or her injury. To be eligible for compensation, and attorney will need to help the person prove two things about the incident. First, the person must prove that an injury did occur. Secondly, the person must prove that neglect caused the incident. The courts can consider an action or lack of an action as neglect. A victim can prove an injury by visiting a physician and requesting documentation of the injury. Neglect is a trickier concept to prove and will require the assistance of an attorney.
Types of Compensation
A victim will be eligible for one or two types of compensation. The two types of compensation that one may receive in a personal injury case are compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are designed to compensate a victim for a wide variety of losses that he or she suffers because of a personal injury. Compensatory damages cover items such as medical bills and treatment, physical therapy and lost work wages. Compensatory damages can cover auto repairs for a person in an automobile accident, as well. Family members of people who die in wrongful death cases can use the compensatory damages to cover funeral costs.
Punitive damages are additional payments that a judge orders when an offender acts in an extremely neglectful way. Punitive damages are commonly awarded in automobile accidents when the offending driver is highly intoxicated, distracted or intentionally driving in a disobedient or reckless manner. The judge may order punitive damages in a situation of repeat offenses, as well. An example of such a case is an animal bite case in which the animal was guilty of harming a person in the past. The judge may order the owner to pay extra money because of his or her awareness of the animal’s tendency to be violent.
How Much Is a Personal Injury Case Worth?
Many victims want their lawyers to give them a ball park figure that represents the compensation they will receive for their injuries and losses. The compensation amount depends on many factors. First, the question of fault percentage may arise. In some states, victims are ineligible for compensation if they are more than 50 percent responsible for an accident. In other states, the judge will reduce the amount of the award by the percentage that the victim is at fault. For example, some automobile accidents occur because of the neglect of two parties. Car A may have run a red light, but car B could not see car A approaching because the driver was answering a text message. The judge may conclude that each person is 50 percent at fault. Therefore, a $300,000 award would be reduced to $150,000.
The value of a settlement will depend on the value of the victim’s proof and the value of the attorney’s skills. The victim will have to produce documentation of all the losses that occurred because of the injury. The victim will want to show medical expenses, missing paychecks, post-hospital treatment costs, repair bills and any other bills that stem from the personal injury. The lawyer will devise a figure that he or she will present to the judge during the hearing. Personal injury compensation could be a few thousand dollars or several hundred thousand dollars. Some victims have won case for millions of dollars. Choosing a reliable attorney is the key to success.