Personal injury attorneys can help with all sorts of injury cases. From slip and falls to auto accidents – two of the most common types of accidents – to injuries from medical malpractice, defective products, and construction accidents, our attorneys can assist you in getting the compensation you need.
It is best to work with a lawyer after an injury because you never know what kinds of legal challenges you will come across. It is important to get professional help determining how much your case is worth, filing any relevant insurance claims, and taking the case to trial if necessary.
Call the personal injury attorneys of Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357 for a free evaluation of your case and to learn more about how to get the compensation you need.
Calculating Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Marietta, GA
Personal injury cases can pay damages in two ways. In many cases, insurance is available to cover the type of accident at hand, and the victim can file with the responsible party’s car insurance, business liability insurance, homeowners insurance, or other insurance to get compensation. However, insurance companies are notorious for trying to deny claims or settle for small values. The alternative way to get paid is to take the case to court by filing a lawsuit.
In either case, your personal injury lawyers will need to calculate damages to know how much your case should be worth so that we know whether any settlement offers or jury awards are fair.
Calculating Economic Damages
Many damages have bills, receipts, and other records showing how much they are worth. These “economic” damages are often simple to calculate; you simply add up the values and claim that much in damages. Generally, you can claim damages for bills you have received and need to pay as well as expenses you have already paid. You can also claim compensation for money that the accident kept you from receiving, such as lost wages caused by your inability to work after your injury.
In some cases, future damages can be claimed, such as the ongoing wages you will miss going forward if you can no longer work. Projecting these damages can be more complex and might require a financial expert’s help.
Calculating Non-Economic Damages
“Pain and suffering” damages and other “non-economic” damages have no monetary value from the start. Instead, you claim damages based on how severe your injuries and their effects on your life are. For example, a broken arm might keep you from working and getting dressed normally for six weeks, but permanent paralysis below the waist will have a much larger impact on your life, your daily activities, and your mental and emotional health.
These damages can be calculated using a few methods. One method is to assign a daily value to your pain and suffering and then multiply that “per diem” value by the number of days you experience pain and suffering. If your injury has no end and the pain and suffering is indefinite, this does not work too well. Alternatively, you can multiply the rest of your economic damages by some factor based on how severe your injuries are. For example, if your injuries are moderate to severe, then three times the value of your other damages might be a reasonable value for non-economic damages.
Calculating Punitive Damages
Sometimes additional punitive damages are ordered to punish the defendant for repeated bad actions or serious negligence. These damages are rare and are usually issued against corporations and other entities that have a history of malfeasance rather than individual people. Courts calculate these damages based on how much they need to order the defendant to pay to have an impact on them and stop them and other parties like them from committing similar misconduct in the future.
That means that these damages are calculated based on how much it will take to make the defendant hurt rather than how much the victim’s case is worth. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1 caps punitive damages at $250,000 for most cases but not for products liability cases and other narrow exceptions.
Filing Insurance Claims and Lawsuits in Marietta, GA Injury Cases
If you were injured, you should usually try turning to insurance first for compensation. However, you should never accept any money from the insurance companies until after you review your case with an experienced injury lawyer, and you might need to ultimately go to court to get full compensation.
Insurance claims can be filed if there is a relevant policy that covers the accident. For example, a driver’s insurance will cover the crashes they cause, and their homeowners insurance should cover injuries on their property. When you file an insurance claim, insurance companies decide fault and the value of damages, which puts a lot of the power in their hands.
If you accept a payout from an insurance claim, that usually functions as a legal settlement. These payouts will come with paperwork to sign that usually waives any further claims and blocks you from going to court to get additional compensation on top of what the insurance company already paid.
This would usually be fine if the amount were correct, but insurance companies often offer low-dollar “nuisance” settlements that cost them almost nothing. If your injuries are severe and you have high-dollar medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering to cover, you should never accept a settlement offer without having a lawyer review it and negotiate with the insurance company.
In many cases, insurance companies simply will not give in, and they will not offer a fair amount. In order to get the fair compensation you deserve, you will then need to go to court, where a judge and jury can decide the case instead of the insurance company. This could potentially pressure the insurance company into settling to avoid any further court costs.
Call Our Marietta, GA Personal Injury Attorneys Today
If you were injured and need help, call our personal injury attorneys at Howe Law for a no-cost evaluation by dialing (844) 876-4357.