A property owner generally has a legal duty to keep their premises safe for individuals who are visiting, or at least to warn of known dangerous conditions on the premises. If the property owner fails to perform this duty and a personal injury results, then a personal injury claim can be filed to recover for the damages incurred. A common question clients ask then is, what is a personal injury claim worth?
The value depends on the type of damages
Every legal claim is different, both factually and with regard to the laws that apply. The most important component in determining the value of a personal injury claim is the nature and seriousness of the actual injuries. The purpose of a damages award in a personal injury case is to make the victim “whole.” This basically means compensating the victim for everything was lost as a result of the accident or injury. The only way to do accomplish that is through a monetary award.
Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Cases
In most personal injury cases, the injured party will seek compensation for medical expenses incurred as a result of their injuries. This is the primary component of damages in a personal injury case. Reimbursement for medical treatment typically includes compensation for treatment already received, as well as the estimated costs of any medical care that may be required in the future. Additionally, the injuries suffered can have a substantial impact on the victim’s ability to return to work, either temporarily or permanently. In that case, damages may include future income.
Emotional Distress and Pain and Suffering
Another important element of damages in nearly every personal injury case is compensation for pain and suffering. When the victim suffers pain and severe discomfort at the time of the injury, as well as ongoing pain, that is a separate type of damages for which compensation may be available. Also, more severe injuries often lead to emotional distress damages for the psychological impact of the injuries. These types of injuries often manifest themselves as fear, anxiety or sleeplessness.
Loss of Enjoyment and Loss of Consortium
Some other kinds of damages which are less tangible and often more difficult to quantify, are damages for loss of enjoyment and loss of consortium. When personal injuries prevent the victim from enjoying normal daily activities, they may be entitled to compensation for what is referred to as “loss of enjoyment” damages. Also, injuries can have a negative impact on the injured person’s relationship with their spouse or significant other. In those situations, damages for “loss of consortium” may be also available.
With these various types of damages, and the inexact nature of determining their value, it is nearly impossible to tell a client how much a personal injury claim is worth. However, experienced personal injury attorneys can assist you through the litigation of these claims, as well as, receiving the compensation to which you are entitled.
If you have questions regarding damages, or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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