Once you are receiving medical treatment and your personal injury attorney has taken appropriate steps toward ensuring you receive needed treatment and that the cost for the care is being handled through your case, the next question you will need to address is financial compensation. While the question, “how much money will I receive,” may not always be the first thing on your mind, it is certainly an important consideration that will become important down the road. At some point, hopefully you will be fully healed from your injuries and on the road to recovery. Once your health issues are addressed, the subject of compensation will be at the forefront of your case and you want to be sure that you have in select the right attorney to ensure you are paid the maximum compensation.
There are various forms of financial compensation available to you as an injured victim. Medical bills are usually covered as long as you were not at fault. You are entitled to payment for the cost of both past and future medical care. In addition, in most cases your lawyer will recover compensation for your pain and suffering, any lost wages or future loss of earning capacity, and loss of companionship (in wrongful death cases).
The first item of compensation in any personal injury case is recovery of medical bills that you have incurred and may continue to incur. Generally, as long as the charges are reasonable and there is no overbilling or excessive treatment, you have a right to collect all of the charges billed by hospitals, doctors and other medical providers. The cost for services already rendered is more straightforward.
Absent extraordinary circumstances, services already rendered will, for the most part, be deemed reasonably incurred, and you are entitled to be paid for 100% of the cost of the services provided to you. The cost for future care can be a complex issue. Your doctors will need to give their opinion, in the form of reports or testimony in court, that the future care is both necessary and related to the incident that forms the basis of your personal injury claim.
Of the various forms of damages (financial compensation) available to an injured victim, pain and suffering damages is the type of financial compensation that one is referring to when they ask, “How much is my personal injury case worth?” There is no formula for arriving at the amount of money you will be paid. The law permits a jury to award you any amount of money it decides. Your lawyer will therefore utilize his or her experience, and knowledge of jury verdicts in similar cases, to advise you as to the amount you are likely to receive for your pain and suffering.
In cases involving medical malpractice, there is a cap on pain and suffering that limits that amount of a damages award that you can obtain against a doctor, hospital, or health care provider.
In most cases, you can recover your lost wages for time you were unable to go to work as a result of an accident caused by the neglect of another person. A claim for lost wages must be reasonable based on the nature and extent of your injuries. Similar to medical bills, you are entitled to be paid 100% of your lost wages.
If you are unable to perform the same type of work you had performed in the past and will suffer a loss of earning capacity in the future as the result of an accident caused by the carelessness of another person, you can also recover financial damages for your future loss of earning capacity.
A serious and debilitating injury can prevent you from taking part in sports or recreational activities that you regularly engaged in prior to your injury. This adverse change in your lifestyle is referred to as Loss of Enjoyment of Life and constitutes part of your financial damages.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by the negligence of another person, you are entitled to loss of consortium damages, a type of financial compensation for the loss of companionship (family relationship) that you are suffering.