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Determining Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

When an individual is injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, he or she has the right to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for his or her damages. But in order to receive this money, the individual must first determine what his or her damages are and how much they are worth. This can be extremely difficult for an individual to do without help from an experienced personal injury lawyer in Memphis.

What Kinds of Damages May I Seek?

In your personal injury claim with the negligent party’s insurance provider, you may seek compensation for the following expenses:

  • Medical bills and related costs such as treatment, hospitalization, and doctor visits;
  • Lost wages;
  • Mental and emotional trauma following your accident;
  • The need for temporary or permanent disability aids such as a wheelchair;
  • Missed or reduced career opportunities;
  • The need for first aid and over-the-counter medical treatment such as topical ointments and pain medication; and
  • Reduced quality of life after your accident.

You might not seek all of these damages in your claim. Conversely, you might have grounds to seek all of the types of damages listed above. You might even have grounds to seek compensation for damages that you did not know you could seek compensation to cover. This is why working with a personal injury attorney to handle your claim is so important to your claim’s success.

How are Damages Determined?

Determining which damages you have suffered requires you and your attorney to examine the expenses you are facing after your accident. You will work together to examine every aspect of your life that has been impacted by your injury, such as your mental well being, your daily pain levels, the amount of time you have or will have to spend out of work, and other needs from the list above to determine which damages you will seek in your personal injury claim.

You will need to provide evidence for all of your damages. When the insurance provider calculates its settlement offer to you, it considers both your general and special damages. Your special damages are your damages for which you can provide the exact cost. Medical bills, the costs of your medication and treatment, and the total amount of wages you did not receive because you were out of work to recover are all examples of special damages. General damages refer to your damages that do not have specific costs, also known as “pain and suffering.” The evidence that you provide for these can include testimonies from your friends, family, and colleagues, receipts for over-the-counter pain medication, excerpts from a journal detailing your affected mental state and reduced quality of life, and photographs of your disfigurement.

Valuing your Damages

Once you have determined which damages to seek, the damages’ value needs to be determined. The negligent party’s insurance provider does this by using a unique formula to calculate a settlement offer. Insurance providers do not tell claimants the exact formulas they use to determine their settlement offers, but they incorporate the following factors:

  • The total amount of the special damages are added together;
  • A multiplier is applied to the dollar value of the special damages to determine the value of the general damages;
  • The severity of the claimant’s injury and needed recovery time and resources can determine this multiplier; and
  • The claimant’s level of fault in his or her accident can reduce the final settlement offer.

As a claimant, what you need to keep in mind during this process is that the stronger the body of evidence you can supply to show extent of your injury and its expenses, the better chance you have of receiving an adequate amount of money to cover all of your needs. Work with your attorney to obtain all the necessary pieces of evidence and use them to their full potential.

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