It is difficult to know how much a personal injury claim is fairly worth. Insurance companies and injury lawyers value claims every day, but most injury victims do not, and they are unfamiliar with the factors that change the value of a claim. Insurance companies know this.
They sometimes try to take advantage of injury victims who do not have attorneys. A claims adjuster might say that your claim isn’t really worth “that much,” or that your case will not do well at trial, or even that you are to blame for your own injuries. This is why it is so important to hire a Chicago personal injury lawyer who has experience handling cases similar to your type of injuries and your type of accident. Below are some ways that an attorney determines how much to ask for in a personal injury settlement.
Special damages are those financial losses that can be documented with an exact value. For example, your medical bills can be established with invoices from your providers. You can also submit receipts for prescriptions or any medical devices you need due to your injuries (such as crutches). Special damages also include lost wages. These are documented with a statement from your employer showing exactly how many hours of work you missed and what your hourly rate of pay is. Special damages are what most people think of when they imagine recovering from a personal injury claim.
General damages compensate you for your pain and suffering. There are many intangible losses you may suffer because of an accident: physical pain, emotional suffering, trauma, lost sleep, irritability, and other losses are all subject to compensation in a personal injury settlement. These damages can be a substantial portion of a settlement when a victim suffered catastrophic injuries, such as a spinal cord injury.
In some rare cases, it is possible to get an award of punitive damages. These damages do not compensate you for your actual losses. Instead, they punish a defendant for particularly dangerous conduct and act to deter others from engaging in similarly risky behaviors. Punitive damages are most often awarded against large companies. When a business has actively worked to hide its misconduct or use its power to silence consumers, punitive damages can be awarded to deter other companies from engaging in similar acts.
There is no doubt that calculating damages for serious injuries can be a complex task. Personal injury law firms often use the help of medical, economic, and vocational experts to ensure clients demand enough to cover all of their past and future losses. If a victim accepts an offer that is too low, they will be responsible for any remaining losses they were not aware of.
The legal team of Malman Law handles the personal injury process for injured victims, including calculating damages to ask for in a settlement. Contact the firm for a free case evaluation today.