For most Americans, missing a paycheck would be enough to cause us to fall behind on essential bills. Even for those who have the savings to keep the lights on, a serious injury could put your financial future in jeopardy. Emergency care, surgeries, rehabilitation, and lost income can add up to a small fortune, but if the injury-causing incident was caused by another person’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation for all resulting damages.
Personal injury victims have the right to pursue both economic damages (objectively verifiable losses) and non-economic damages (subjective effects of the injury like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life). But each case is unique, and many factors can influence the final settlement or verdict. Such factors include:
1. The Nature and Severity of Your Injury
If your injury is serious and permanent, your damages will almost certainly be more substantial than someone who sustained only a minor, temporary injury. The more severe your condition, the higher your medical bills will likely be—especially if you’re going to require ongoing care. You may also be put out of work while you recover, in which case your claim can include any lost income and loss of future earning capacity. Serious injuries may also warrant higher recoveries for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost enjoyment in life. Under some circumstances, the spouse of the injured party can bring a claim for loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of guidance, sexual relations, society, and companionship.
2. Your Pre-Injury Income
Personal injury victims have the right to pursue compensation for any income they lost as a result. In most cases, the primary factors that influence the lost income calculations are the claimant’s pre-injury income and the amount of time he or she missed from work. If it’s reasonably certain that the injury will affect your future earning capacity, your lawyer may also use industry statistics and the input of an economic expert to calculate lost income. Expert witness testimony may also play an important role during settlement negotiations and any litigation that may follow.
3. Your Percentage of Fault
If you were partially liable, your financial recovery may be reduced by your own percentage of fault. In the state of South Carolina, personal injury claimants who are found to be 51 percent liable (or more) are barred from recovering any damages. A skilled personal injury attorney can gather evidence and take the necessary steps to minimize the percentage of fault assigned to you.
4. The Cost of Property Repairs or Replacement
Was any of your property damaged in the accident? If so, you can include the cost of repairs or potentially replacement in the settlement calculations.
5. The Nature of the Defendant’s Misconduct
If the defendant’s misconduct was particularly egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. These damages are only available in cases involving a defendant who acted with gross negligence, ill will, malice, reckless disregard, or conscious indifference. If, for example, you were hit by a drunk driver or intentionally attacked by the defendant, you may be awarded punitive damages.
The attorneys at Hodge & Langley Law Firm have more than 50 years of combined experience helping the injured and their families navigate the legal system. We won’t settle for anything less than you deserve.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Spartanburg, call 864-585-3873 or send us a message online.