Many factors are considered when determining the compensation deserved by a claimant. These can include scope and severity of the injury or loss, the present or future quality of life, future health care costs, the present or future loss of income or employment, and the emotional or psychological distress caused by the trauma. For each factor, a general calculation is used that judges compensation amount based on the severity of the impact, and is scaled down from a cap on damages, with the highest being reserved for the most catastrophic of injuries.
General non-pecuniary damages are what people most often think of when they think of personal injury compensation. These include compensation for pain and suffering experienced, and the loss of enjoyment that occurs as a result. Currently, the cap on damages is $350,000, which is reserved for catastrophic injuries such as severe brain damage or quadriplegia.
Compensation awarded for the loss of past and future earnings is also frequently sought, as people who have experienced an accident, injury, or other traumatic event are often unable to work, and may even lose their jobs entirely depending on the length of time required for recuperation. These damages are calculated using the amount of earnings lost as well as the potential loss of future earnings due to your injury. Whether or not compensation should be based on gross or net income, and whether they should include benefits and missed pension payments depends on the specific facts of a case, and in such cases legal representation can be enormously helpful in getting the compensation you deserve.
Cost of future care refers to any and all expenses related to your injury or illness that will be incurred after the trial or settlement is completed. This can include medical costs, costs for full or part time private nursing, medications, trauma counselling – even the costs of making your home and/or vehicle accessible to you. Additionally, if you have lost the ability to maintain and look after your home, you may be entitled to compensation for lack of housekeeping capacity. This can include child care, house care, and yard work – anything that you are no longer able to take care of without paid assistance. Once again, insurance adjusters will often refuse to offer compensation for this reason, so legal advice and assistance can often be a great help.
Aggravated, exemplary, and punitive damages, finally, are awarded when the person responsible for your injury or illness has been proven to have acted in an excessive, flagrant, or obscene way. These damages are often levied in an attempt to punish the perpetrator in addition to compensating you, and can be awarded in cases of physical or sexual assault, police harassment, or medical malpractice. Compensation is calculated based on the severity of the injury and intent of the perpetrator.
Personal injury suits can be complicated, and insurance adjusters can often take advantage of a plaintiff’s lack of knowledge and expertise in the legal arena to pay out less than the person deserves.