Before deciding to enter into a lawsuit in order to recover costs associated with an injury caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person, it is important to understand whether the case is worth pursuing. Determining the Value personal injury is a difficult task, as there are many factors that go into what can be awarded to someone who has been injured by another person.
If you have been involved in an accident, whether it’s a slip and fall, car accident, or any other situation that caused an injury, you are probably wondering just how much your personal injury is actually worth. While determining how much your personal injury is worth depends on your specific situation, the compensation will boil down to the damages you sustained. No two cases are alike.
The first amount that the insurance company and attorneys will review are the compensatory damages you may be entitled to recover. Compensatory damages are actual costs incurred by you due to your personal injury, such as medical bills, lost wages and either the repair or replacement of your vehicle, if you were in a car accident. Missed days at work can lead to financial difficulty, which in turn leads to stress and, in most states, stress falls under compensatory damages.
Determining your damages takes a lot of factors into consideration because there are many things that could entitle you to compensation. While each personal injury case will depend on the specifics, here are some things you could be compensated for:
Medical Bills: The majority of personal injury cases garner some sort of compensation for medical bills associated with the accident. This compensation includes reimbursement for any treatment you have already received as well as for the medical care you will need in the future, such as physical therapy, due to the accident. In Florida, it is also possible to recover future medical costs under compensatory damages and there is no limit on the amount of compensatory damages that can be awarded
Income: If you were involved in an accident that impacted your income, you may be entitled to compensation. This includes both the income you have already lost and the income you may lose because you can no longer work—this is generally referred to as “loss of earning capacity.”
Emotional: Often times, when one is involved in a severe accident, they suffer some sort of emotional stress—whether post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression or sleep loss. As a result, you may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress.
Pain & Suffering: Similar to emotional damages, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. This includes any immediate pain you may be in following an accident or pain that occurs post-accident.
Punitive Damages: If the other party’s actions are deemed extremely careless, you may be entitled to compensation as well.
Most compensatory damages are easy to prove as long as you keep accurate records, receipts and documentation of the days you missed work. However, some compensatory damages are more difficult to prove, including pain, suffering or emotional trauma caused by another person’s negligence.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the person who caused the injury, however, in Florida, there are limits on how much can be awarded. In addition, according to Florida Statutes 768.72, punitive damage may only be awarded if there is convincing evidence that the defendant was guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. In other words, the defendant must have actual knowledge that their action would result in injury, or that their conduct was so reckless, it demonstrated a disregard for the safety and well-being of others.
Once it has been determined that the defendant acted in such a manner, punitive damages may not exceed three-times the compensatory damage ordered or $500,000, whichever is greater.
However, if the injury was caused solely due to attempt of financial gain or if the defendant had a specific intent to harm the plaintiff, damages are limited to four-times the amount of compensatory damages or $2 million, whichever is greater.
The first step to determining what your personal injury may be worth is to total all medical bills, missed days of work and the cost of auto repairs. Keep in mind that in order for punitive damages to be awarded, the court must believe that the person who caused the injury acted with gross negligence or willful misconduct.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If you have been involved in an accident, you should seek legal assistance right away. Without the help of a legal professional, you may not be able to get all of the compensation you are truly entitled to. Because personal injury cases can be complicated, it is imperative that you contact the legal team at PLM Attorneys. We will help you through every step of the way, from getting the appropriate medical treatment to gathering information about the other party’s insurance. To learn more about PLM Attorneys and what we can do to help you, schedule your free consultation today.