When a person is injured in an accident that is caused by the negligence of someone else, the law says the at-fault person is responsible for the losses the victim has suffered, including both economic and noneconomic losses. Each accident case is different, each with its own set of circumstances and factors that could play a part in how much of an injury settlement or award the victim could receive should they decide to pursue a case against the party who caused the accident.
So what exactly are those factors and how much could your claim be worth? The best way to find that answer out is to consult with a personal injury attorney who will be able to make that determination. Some of the questions your attorney may ask include:
Is the injury claim a valid one?
In order for a personal injury claim to be a valid one, then there needs to be some measure of negligence or recklessness on the actions or behaviors of the alleged at-fault party to have engaged in. Some examples of negligent behavior include:
- A dog owner who let their dog run loose and the dog bit you
- A driver who was texting while driving and crashed into your vehicle
- A grocery store that failed to remove ice at the entrance of the building and you fell
- A doctor who was drunk while performing your surgery and nicked an organ
There are many other examples of negligent actions and your attorney will determine the act of negligence in your accident case.
What type of damages might I receive?
Because each accident victim is different, the losses they suffer will also be different. Each case has different losses and each loss is worth varying amounts. There are some damages that every accident victim is entitled to, such as medical expenses and loss of income.
The at-fault party is responsible for all the medical bills that are associated with treatment for the victim’s injuries, including all doctor visits, surgeries, medications, and medical equipment.
Victims who are unable to work because of the injuries are also entitled to receive those loss wages as part of their settlement. If they were forced to use vacation or personal time, then the value of those days can also be included in the settlement.
There are other types of losses victims can pursue, however, these losses do not have a definitive dollar amount attached to them and are subjective. These losses include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Loss of companionship
A Fort Collins personal injury attorney can calculate what those losses are worth in your particular case. There are several different ways to come up with this total and is usually based on how much the quantifiable damages (medical expenses and loss of income) totaled, as well as the severity of the injuries.
In some accidents, the victim may also be awarded punitive damages. These damages are not meant to replace a loss the victim suffered but instead are meant to punish the at-fault party and send a message to society that this behavior will not be tolerated. A drunk driving accident is a good example of a case where punitive damages are often awarded to the victim.