With the increased number of accidents, there are also strong legal arrangements to protect the victims. Primarily, personal injury law comes to the rescue of people who get injured in accidents that are the result of negligence of some other person. Under this law, the victim can claim compensation on account of physical injuries and financial losses they have suffered in the accident. It is important to understand that the scope of this law extends beyond automobile accidents and covers other types of accidents including workplace injuries, slips and falls, medical negligence, and dog bites.
Another key aspect of this law is the different types of compensatory claims you are entitled to get as a victim. Essentially, compensatory damages under personal injury law are categorized under two heads- general and special damages. Knowing these types of damages is critical so that you can claim a compensation that you deserve to get your finances and life back on track. Let us explain the various types of compensation that can be claimed under the personal injury law.
The victim can claim general damages on the basis of trauma and suffering rather than the financial implications of the accident. Based on the individual circumstances, a victim may or may not be eligible for these damages. These damages are classified as follows:
- Pain and suffering: The pain and suffering endured by the victim at the time of the accident comes under this category. Even the future suffering due this injury may make you entitled to compensation, depending on the type of injury and the severity of pain. The pain may be subjective and differ from person to person, which can make the calculation of the damages complex in some cases.
- Emotional stress: The implications of an accident often extend beyond physical injuries and may include psychological trauma as well. For this reason, the victim may also rightfully claim compensation for emotional stress, anxiety or depression caused by the accident. However, it needs to be validated by a professional psychiatrist or psychologist to get you the compensation you demand.
- Loss of enjoyment: You may also claim compensation in lieu of loss of enjoyment, both present and future, because of the inability to participate in activities such as sports, exercise, hobbies and recreational activities. The compensation for loss of enjoyment is dependent on the value placed on the activities that the victim is unable to enjoy right after the accident and in the future as well.
- Loss of consortium: In legal terms, loss of consortium refers to the inability to have sexual companionship with your partner due to the injury caused by the accident. Claiming the compensation in lieu of loss of consortium usually requires medical proof of sexual disability. At the same time, the victim needs to convince the insurance company with a written statement from their spouse.
Besides these forms of damages, compensation can also be claimed for punitive damages, which is attributed to the malicious behavior of the third party. Securing compensation for general damages gets tricky because these are often subjective and hard to prove. The best approach is to have your case handled by an experienced personal injury attorney who can assist you in proving them and securing the claim successfully.
Unlike general damages, special damages are the economic losses which can be calculated and documented. Even though these are easier to prove, you still require extensive documentation including bills, receipts and costs incurred due to the injury. These damages include the following:
- Medical costs: As the name suggests, these are the costs of medical treatment for the injuries sustained during the accident. The amount of compensation varies according to the type of injury and cost of treating it. Justin Kimball from PreszlerLaw-NS.com explains that there is no known cure for chronic pain; treatment options range from medication and surgery to acupuncture and local electric stimulation. Whatever treatment options you have to take, ensure that you have complete documentation of the bills.
- Loss of income: When a victim gets injured during an accident, there may be loss of employment due to temporary or permanent disability. The compensation includes the wages lost due to the incapacity to work, starting from the day you get injured till the day you rejoin or till present, as the case may be. This loss has to be verified with an employer’s letter stating the details of hours and wages lost due to the injury.
- Out of pocket expenses: In addition to the major special costs related to medical treatment and loss of income, you are also entitled to claim the out-of-pocket expenses made due to the injury. These include the related costs such as medications, medical aids, car rentals or gasoline fees incurred while traveling to appointments and any other costs. For these costs too, you need proper bills and receipts to prove their legitimacy.
- Personal property damage: This refers to the cost of property damaged during the accident, which usually happens when the victim is traveling in a car or any other vehicle. The compensation can be claimed by filing a property damage claim and is calculated on the basis of cost of repair. You may also seek reimbursement for the damage of items such as cell phones, laptops, jewelry, eyeglasses and even clothing item that you may have been carrying or wearing at the time of the accident.
Special damages are easier to prove because they can be calculated, as in the case of medical bills, repair bills and proof of lost income. The purpose of this form of compensation is very clear, which is to reimburse all the losses of the victim and put their financial condition on track after the accident and loss of employment due to the injuries sustained.
Being aware of the varied forms of damages that you can possibly claim after an accident makes your case stronger. Also, entrusting your case to a legal professional with expertise in personal injury law can improve your chances of success manifold. Therefore, you must take all the requisite steps to ensure that the losses caused by the accident are covered up.