After an injury-accident that is the fault of another motorist, you might be entitled to compensation for different types of damages and injuries that you or your loved ones have suffered. However, you might not realize that you can seek a variety of types of claims when you pursue a settlement or even take the case to court. Our knowledgeable personal injury team can discuss the types of compensation that might be appropriate in your case.
An Overview of Punitive Damages
While each case is different, you could ask for monetary and non-monetary compensation for the damages. Monetary damages are direct financial losses after an accident, such as time off work, the damage to your vehicle, or other property and medical expenses. Non-monetary damages are separate but equally as important, and could include punitive sanctions against an irresponsible party along with pain and suffering.
Punitive damages are awarded when the defendant was especially egregious in their behavior that caused the accident. The courts might penalize them financially and then award the money to you. This money is completely separate from any other compensation you receive. Each state has their own laws related to punitive damages. For example, if you were injured in a trucking accident by a drunk driver with a prior record of drinking and driving who is employed by a professional company, the courts could decide that punitive damages are justified. Other examples of punitive damages include serious negligence, such as failure by a company to properly maintain their vehicles.
Determining the Value of Your Claim
The insurance company will assign a specific value to your claim by assessing the amount and type of damage done and determining a percentage of fault for the accident. The types of damages include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and loss of companionship. Loss of companionship refers to how an injury affects a loved one related to support, aid, affection, comfort, and general companionship.
Monetary damages, while sometimes a bit complex, are fairly straightforward as you are dealing with exact amounts of loss, including hospital bills, out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, and related and documented expenses. The insurance company generally pays these willingly. However, pain and suffering requests require more negotiation by both parties. The insurance company will use a formula to calculate the amount of pain and suffering. Each injury or medical issue is assigned a value related to the severity of the injury. These numbers are totaled with lost wages and other general and special damages in order to arrive at a theoretical settlement amount.
However, if you were partially responsible for the accident, the claims adjuster might reduce the settlement offer by the percentage of your responsibility. When the other party is totally liable, then the offer will probably not be affected.
If you agree to accept a settlement without speaking with an attorney first, you run the risk of missing out on some of the damages that are rightfully yours. The lawyers at the Hancock Injury Attorneys can review all of the financial areas that could affect a settlement or a cash award. Call us for help today!