If you have been injured in a car accident or other type of accident caused by another, you might be wondering how damages are determined. Damages in a personal injury claim include the cost of your injuries to you, financially, physically and emotionally.
How much compensation should you be given to cover these costs? Is there a formula? Is there a limit? How do insurance companies and attorneys come to agreements on behalf of their clients or insured? These are some of the factors that determine the amount of compensation you may receive.
Medical treatment. The cost of your medical treatment will be taken into consideration. This treatment will include all future anticipated costs, as well as medical-related costs that will help you function and recover your life again, such as retrofitting your home or car so that someone with a permanent, disabling injury can manage in that home or still drive. Costs regarding medical treatment can anticipate potential surgeries and innovations in treatment down the road that will improve your condition.
Insurers will also determine what they are willing to pay by comparing your costs against the costs of others who have suffered the type of injuries you have experienced. This comparison gives them a benchmark by which to work and negotiate.
Damages to property. Another factor that goes into determining the value of a claim is damage to property. In this case, property refers to the damage to the car involved, the cost of repairs or compensation for the fair market value of the vehicle if the vehicle must be replaced, ruined clothing and other items damaged due to the accident.
Pain and suffering. This is perhaps the most difficult and subjective “cost” to put a dollar figure on because it is not tangible. This loss relates to the impact of your physical pain and the suffering you have incurred as a result, as well as the emotional impact that the physical limitations caused by the accident have had on your life. It also relates to any accident-related trauma you are experiencing, including depression, anxiety or feelings of being overwhelmed, that was not present prior to the accident.
Loss of enjoyment or consortium. These losses relate to the loss of your ability to enjoy hobbies and recreation the way you used to. If you are a parent who is now unable to lift heavy things or walk any distance as a result of the accident, loss of enjoyment might include the “cost” of not being able to pick your children up, take a long walk or ride a bicycle. Loss of consortium relates to the loss of your ability to enjoy life with your partner like you used to prior to the accident. It can include such intangibles as the inability to have a sexual relationship.
Income. If you have lost work or are even unable to work as a result of the accident, this can also be figured into the compensation package in a personal injury claim. This also takes into account the cost that your inability or limited ability to work will have on your future. This is considered as “loss of earning capacity” compensation.
Other factors that can affect compensation include whether you were to some partial degree at fault for the accident and if the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious to the point that the defendant should be financially “punished” for their negligence and to stop them from doing something similar again.
Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Attorney
Jonathan Scott Smith is a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer who fights for the rights of the injured. He understands the upheaval an accident can wreak on not just the accident victim, but on the person’s entire family. He is committed to helping his clients obtain full and fair compensation so they may recover their health and lives as fully as possible. His work has earned him honors, respect and recognition from his peers and clients.
Mr. Smith has been included in the Maryland Super Lawyer List and has earned a 10.0 Superb rating as a litigation attorney from AVVO, the AV-Preeminent™* Peer Rating by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and the Clients’ Choice Award from AVVO, based on average client reviews of 5 stars — the highest client review possible. He has also been named a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine and Martindale-Hubbell (2012).
Baltimore Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Law Firm
Our law firm represents clients in personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and criminal defense cases throughout Maryland, including Columbia, Clarksville, Sykesville, Fulton, Elkridge, Frederick, Mt. Airy, Ellicott City, Laurel, Westminster and Baltimore, and throughout Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.
*AV® Preeminent™, BV® Distinguished™ and Rated are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.