When you’ve been injured, you’ve lost time from work, or worse – lost your job all together – and the bills begin to pile up, it’s natural to start to panic and wonder how much you may get from a settlement. You know what you think you deserve but the insurance company is rarely going to see it from your side. What you think a jury might think is fair may or may not match up with what you have mentally tallied up for all of your frustration, pain and suffering.
So, what considerations are actually made when calculating a personal injury claim? Compensatory damages are designed to make you whole again from your actual financial losses. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded, though they are not standard in personal injury claims. The facts surrounding the cause of your injury and the amount of time and care you require to reach your maximum recovery, coupled with whether you will be left with any permanent injuries all factor into the final figure.
Categories of compensatory damages that are considered are:
- Medical treatment. This includes reimbursement for all current and future medical expenses that may involve physical therapy, surgery, vocational rehabilitation, or other treatment associated with the accident.
- Lost Wages. You could be forced to miss work due to the accident itself. You should be reimbursed for the income you lose through no fault of your own. Your ability to work may also be limited after the accident based on whether your injuries leave you permanently disabled. If you are unable to maintain the same earning capacity that you were earning prior to being injured, you can claim future lost income as well.
- Property loss. If damage was caused to any property you own, then you could be entitled to the value of reimbursement or replacement.
Non-economic damages in Connecticut are permitted in personal injury cases, which include:
- Pain and suffering. You may receive an award of compensation for physical pain and suffering that you endured during the accident, while going through recovery, and continue to experience.
- Emotional distress. When an accident is particularly serious, a victim can experience emotional distress and may be entitled to compensation for the psychological impact of an injury, which may include fear, anxiety, and other emotions that interfere with normal, everyday living.
- Loss of opportunities. When your injuries leave you unable to participate in that weekly yoga class you attend with your friends, work on your classic car with your son, or engage in other enjoyable daily activities, you may be entitled to receive compensation for losing your ability to pursue those interests.
- Loss of consortium. When your injuries are so severe that they affect your relationship with your spouse, or maybe your ability to fully participate as a parent to your child, the affected family member may be entitled to make a claim for compensation for losing the benefits of those relationships.
Punitive damages may also be awarded in a personal injury case as a way to punish the defendant and deter similar future behavior. In Connecticut, you may be awarded something called treble damages in certain cases if your injury was the result of a wrongful act committed knowingly and deliberately. In these cases, the court may award you two to three times the amount of certain damages. Under § 14-295, when the case involves the defendant’s operation of a motor vehicle in violation of specific traffic provisions, the court may award double or treble damages to the plaintiff. In comparison, in a product liability action, punitive damages are limited to twice the damages if the plaintiff’s injuries are due to the retail seller’s reckless disregard for safety.
Connecticut is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that if you are found to be at fault, your damages claim will be reduced based upon the percentage of fault you are found to have contributed to the accident. If are found 50% (or more) at fault for your injuries, you can be barred from collecting any compensation at all.
If you or a loved one is a resident of Manchester or Hartford and have suffered injuries in a vehicle collision or other accident, you deserve to receive the maximum compensation for all of the damages you have experienced. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC are here to help guide you through the settlement process to be sure you are treated fairly by the insurance company. To schedule your free no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office at 860-649-4400 or visit us through our contact page today.