How is personal injury compensation determined?
To determine the amount for which you are entitled in compensation resulting from a personal injury, there are two considerations that a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer must make. During a consultation, your lawyer will ask you questions that will get to the bottom of the following:
1. The strength of your liability claim
2. The extent of your damages
Strength of the Liability Claim
The first thing your Milwaukee personal injury lawyer needs to understand is the strength of your liability claim. For liability to exist, someone must be “at fault” through negligence or carelessness. In the context of a construction accident, for example, many acts of negligence could result in faulty or dangerous equipment. In a car accident, negligence might manifest as a driver failing to check side mirrors before changing lanes.
There are many factors that could be at play in a personal injury claim. Furthermore, the injured party might hold some degree of negligence, and this could affect the strength of the case. The defendant’s lawyer may try to make a case that the plaintiff’s injury is the result of their own negligence.
Extent of Damages
The next thing Milwaukee personal injury lawyer will need is to determine is the extent of your “damages,” which refers to the financial cost of the injury and the impact it has had on your life. If you have had to endure an extended hospital stay and multiple surgeries, for example, that could be considered significant hardship and may justify asking for a settlement that is higher than the hospital bill. There are three common methods for calculating damages that a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer may use:
- Injury valuation software: There are several types of software systems that calculate a value for your damages based on the extent of several factors you may have or have not experienced. These include: hospitalization (when applicable); treatment type; length of treatment; whether you had to endure physical therapy; if there were delays and gaps in treatment, medication, and level of impairment.
- Multiple of specials: This considers total medical costs, lost income, and damages due to pain and suffering with an added multiplier based on the aggravating circumstances of the case. Aggravating circumstances may include seriousness of your injuries, time to recovery, and whether you recovered completely.
- Per diem: This method attempts to assign a value to your pain and suffering by calculating a “per diem” (per day) value, adding that amount to your medical costs and lost income, and then adding that to a per-diem value for any lingering pain.
Permanent or Serious Injury
The value of your claim is greatly dependent on the extent of your injury. The damages award can be significantly more if the injury is serious. A Milwaukee personal injury lawyer can review your case and determine an approximate value for your case based on the seriousness of your personal injury. Several factors to keep in mind that can also affect the valuation of your claim are:
- If the injury is permanent the claim may be worth more than if it’s a temporary injury from which the victim can fully recover.
- If the injury results in scarring the claim may be worth more. If a scar is large and easily visible, such on the face, it may qualify for more compensation than if the scar is small and nearly always out of sight beneath clothing.
- If the injury results in disfigurement the claim may be worth more.
- If the injury requires architectural changes, modifications, or other changes to your house to accommodate your accessibility needs, the costs might be eligible for inclusion in your claim or lawsuit.
- If the injury is permanent and prevents you from being able to return to your job full time or return at all, lost wages may be eligible for inclusion in your claim or lawsuit. If you must change positions and take a lesser paying job, your Milwaukee personal injury lawyer may be able to include the difference in wages as part of your damages.
- Depending on the nature of your injury, if it causes you pain and suffering, a personal injury lawyer in Milwaukee WI can determine a fair dollar amount as compensation. In addition to your pain and suffering, the fact that it’s permanent may cause you immense emotional distress. For some cases, damage compensation for pain and suffering can be significant.
- If the injury prevents you from being able to enjoy certain activities or hobbies such as gardening, dancing, or bowling, then this loss may qualify as “loss of enjoyment.” As with pain and suffering, placing a dollar amount on this hardship is best done by an experienced Milwaukee personal injury lawyer.
- If your injury will require a lifetime of medication, surgery, treatment of one kind or another, the anticipated costs can be included in your claim.
- Permanent injuries may elicit more award money from juries if the victim is especially young, rather than if the victim is in the last years of a long life. An experienced Milwaukee personal injury lawyer may have a sense of how a jury may react to you as the victim.
- Permanent injuries that involve the back or joints are often especially painful. A spinal injury can cause full-time discomfort or chronic pain. Some injuries are more prone to this than others. In addition to spinal injuries, damage to vertebrae, ligaments, and cartilage can be serious which in turn can increase the value of your claim. After a review of your case, a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer can include your medical records as proof of the seriousness of your accident injury.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Those who suffer PTSD because of the accident might include this emotional and psychological part of their injury as part of their damages claim.
Contact a Reputable Personal Injury Lawyer in Milwaukee WI
For more information, a lawyer may help you navigate any state- and local jurisdiction-specific laws that relate to your case. For instance, Wisconsin passed a law in 2011 that limits punitive damages in personal injury claims, but not compensatory (or economic) damages. State legislatures are constantly updating laws that pertain to civil suits and it’s essential to have the most up-to-date knowledge possible.
If you were the victim of someone’s negligence, call a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer from Hickey & Turim, S.C. for a free consultation today.