The Art and Science of Determining Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Damages in personal injury cases come in two types — compensatory and punitive. With the guidance of your personal injury lawyer, you should be able to get a grasp on what financial damages should be apt given the lost salary, disfigurement, economic damages, or garnished wages you’ve sustained as a consequence of your injury.
However, be aware that your personal injury lawyer may ask for more compensation than seems fair initially for the purpose of negotiating a reasonable settlement or otherwise capitalizing on the defendant’s fear of having to put together a higher dollar amount for you.
Your personal injury lawyer can explain the subtleties between punitive and compensatory damages further. In a nutshell: Compensatory damages include everything from embarrassment to property destroyed in an accident to medical bills resulting from the injury. Punitive damages are awarded by the court to punish the defendant for negligence or carelessness.
In cases involving malicious intent or wanton and reckless flouting of the law, punitive damages may exceed even large compensatory damage settlements.
Of course, even if your personal injury attorney gets you a high settlement, it may take quite a while before you in fact see money in your account. Your personal injury law firm may have to battle again for your rights in appellate court, and even if your motions make it through appellate challenges, you likely won’t get all the settlement at once.
With cases involving corporations or lawsuits revolving around multiple plaintiffs and defendants, it could very well be years before you see reparation, and you may not obtain them in a lump sum but rather in a structured settlement – an arrangement which pays money to you on an annual basis.
In some cases you may be awarded damages even if you are partially responsible for the accident. For instance, if you’ve been injured in a car or truck wreck and both you and the other driver are partially responsible for the incident, you still may be entitled to a portion of total damages. However, you and/or your insurance company may have to pay out damages to the other driver.
A personal injury attorney familiar with the laws of your state and with the legal precedents related to your kind of case should be able to give you a rough number of what to expect in the way of damages and when to expect payment. Call me, Ron Rowars to get straight answers to all your questions at (772) 337-1146.