If you have been hurt in an accident that was not your fault, you should receive proper compensation. However, determining how much that compensation should be is not always an easy calculation. Whether you have been involved in a car accident, slip and fall, motorcycle accident or any other kind of accident, answering the question “How much should I get for my injury?” will require some analysis.
It all Depends on Your “Damages”
“Damages” is a term that the legal industry uses to describe the harm or loss that was caused to an individual by someone else. The term “damages” typically describes the amount of money that should be paid to someone after they have been innocently injured. The key in determining how much money you should be receiving for your injury is to determine how much you’ve lost as a result of the injury.
In the sections below we will describe the different types of damages that you can get compensated for.
Compensatory Damages for a Personal Injury
The most typical personal injury award is for “compensatory damages.” Compensatory damages are intended to compensate an injured person for what was lost because of the injury. Stated another way, compensatory damages are intended to make a person “whole” or bring them back to the way they were before (if at all possible).
In order to calculate compensatory damages we would need to determine exactly what was lost and how much that loss is worth. Some of these types of damages are very easy to quantify while others can be difficult. Below is a list of the different types of compensatory damages and how they are calculated.
Medical Treatment: The cost of your medical care related to your injury should always be included in your damages. These are typically easy to calculate since your doctors will produce a bill that can be provided to the at-fault party. Doctors can also make a determination of future treatment that can be used to prove how much additional medical treatment you will need in coming months and years.
Income: If your injury made it so that you were unable to work, you should be compensated for the wages that you missed out on. This is also very simple to calculate requiring you to only prove that you missed work and how much you would have made during that time.
Pain and Suffering: Depending on your injury, you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages as well. These are not easy to calculate to precision since it is really just based on the amount of discomfort that you felt as a result of your injury. You can also add in pain and suffering that you might have in the future. A legal professional will be very useful in helping you determine how much money for pain and suffering you might be able to receive.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life: An injury could result in you being unable to enjoy day-to-day activities that you previously engaged in. When you are no longer able to do the things you previously enjoyed you can receive compensation for the loss of enjoyment of those activities.
Loss of Consortium: Loss of consortium describes the impact that the injury has had on your relationship with your spouse. This includes the loss of companionship and/or the inability to maintain a sexual relationship with him/her. This one is also relatively hard to quantify in dollar amounts since it is also based on feelings. However, a competent attorney can help you figure this one out as well.
When someone has been injured by a particularly egregious or intentional act, a personal injury plaintiff can recover punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are an extra layer of punishment given in certain circumstances to help deter the person or company from ever acting that way again. Only certain injuries will warrant punitive damages so getting competent advice from a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer will help you understand if this type of damages will apply to you.
You Can Affect How Much Money You Receive (For Better or For Worse)
Most of the time our clients don’t realize how their actions (or inactions) can affect the amount of money they are entitled to receive. Here are some examples of ways that you could affect how much money you end up with from a personal injury claim:
Inconsistent Medical Treatment: One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to wait too long to see a doctor after they have been injured. Or they choose not to keep up with their recommended medical treatment. If you are not seeing a doctor early and regularly the insurance company will not believe that you are actually injured and offer you much less in a settlement.
Comparative Negligence: If you contributed to your own injury in any way, the amount of money that you will receive can be drastically reduced or even eliminated.
Signing a Waiver: Do not sign anything from an insurance company without have an attorney review it first. The insurance companies are notorious for getting individuals to sign something that removes all of their rights of receiving money in the future.
What to do Next
If you have been injured in a Las Vegas car accident or any other type of Las Vegas injury, you should speak with an experienced lawyers. The attorneys at Parry & Pfau have the experience you need to set you down the right path to receive the compensation you need and deserve.
To schedule a free personal injury consultation with one of our attorneys you can call 702-912-4451 to request a meeting. We look forward to meeting with you and to helping you get the proper amount of money for your injury.
Zachariah B. Parry is an attorney and founding partner at the law firm Parry & Pfau and is an adjunct professor who teaches torts, contracts, and Nevada practice and procedure for UNLV’s paralegal program. He can be reached at 702-912-4451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.