After suffering a serious injury due to someone’s reckless or negligent actions, it may be beneficial to understand what kind of compensation you can expect from a personal injury case. Depending on the details of your accident and injury, you may be eligible to recover damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and more.
With more than 150 years of combined experience, the accomplished attorneys at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC have recovered millions in damages for the wrongfully injured in Alabama, including an historic $21,000,000 jury verdict. We understand the hardships you may be facing and we know how to successfully pursue the maximum compensation you need and deserve.
Potential Damages in a Personal Injury Case
If you’re thinking of filing an injury claim but aren’t sure what to expect in terms of compensation, this post can help you. Depending on your circumstances, you can expect to receive compensation under one or more of the following categories:
These are financial losses that were brought on by the accident and your injuries. These damages are easier to recover because you can attach a dollar value to them. They include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitative therapy costs
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Household care costs
These are very real mental and emotional trauma that victims deal with after a serious accident. Unlike emotional damages, it’s hard to assign a dollar value to these injuries because of their subjective nature. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
Although very rare in Alabama, you may be able to receive punitive damages in tort actions or wrongful death cases.
Per Ala. Code § 6-11-20, punitive damages are only awarded in extreme circumstances where there’s proof that the defendant intentionally acted in a manner that perpetuated acts of “fraud, wantonness, malice, or oppression”.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can let you know if you qualify for these damages.
Read More: How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
Factors that Impact Damages in a Personal Injury Case
When it comes to awarding damages in a personal injury claim, insurance companies have a process. Ultimately, this process is designed to ensure that you get as little compensation as possible. After all, insurance companies are a business, not a charity.
Your final settlement amount will be determined by the following factors:
Cause of the Injury and Liable Parties
A vital aspect of the case-building process is determining fault. Your personal injury lawyer needs to identify what led to your injury and who is responsible for it. If your injury is self-inflicted, it goes to reason that your claim may be denied.
However, if someone else caused you harm or made you ill through their negligence or mistakes, you may be able to collect compensation. Your personal injury lawyer will have to establish that the liable entities were negligent or careless.
And to do that, they have to prove the four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care — There has to be proof that the defendant owed you a legal duty of keeping you safe within reason. For example, all drivers owe other road users a duty of reasonable safety. So, they’re expected to drive carefully and with regard for other road users’ safety.
- Breach — The attorney has to show that the defendant’s actions showed little or no regard for their obligations. For example, the defendant exceeded recommended speed limits on the roadway.
- Causation — They have to show that because of the breach of duty, the defendant caused you harm. E.g. Their reckless speeding led to your accident and subsequent injuries.
- Damages — The attorney has to show that you suffered losses because of the defendant’s actions. E.g. Your vehicle was totaled, you suffered injuries requiring medical attention, incurred costs of treatment, and other associated expenses.
Severity of Injuries
Your settlement amount is often tied to how bad your injuries were. People who suffer mild injuries will typically not get as much as those with catastrophic injuries. Also, you have to consider the long-term effect of the injuries.
For instance, some injuries may start off mild and seemingly inconsequential, but grow to become a debilitating condition in the future. Another example is internal injuries.
There have been instances of people who walked away from an accident seemingly fine but died later from the injuries. An example of this is Talk and Die Syndrome which is caused by mild head traumas which worsen and degenerate into serious head injuries.
The National Institutes of Health reports that this syndrome is responsible for 2.6 percent of deaths from traumatic head injuries. So, even if you feel fine after an accident, it’s still best to see a doctor as quickly as possible.
Impact of Injuries on a Victim’s Life
If the injuries you sustained from the accident have adversely affected your quality of life, your ability to function in society, or your capacity to earn a living and interact with your loved ones, the courts will take this into consideration when awarding compensation.
The goal of compensation is to help restore your financial and emotional situation to the state they were before the accident. And while no amount of money can cover the inconvenience, discomfort, and pain you have to deal with, it can help provide a modicum of security.
If the defendant’s negligence, mistakes, omission, or wrongful act led to the death of a loved one, surviving loved ones can file a wrongful death claim.
However, unlike other states where wrongful death suits are meant to provide financially for the deceased’s survivors, Alabama allows surviving relatives can seek punitive damages and punish the negligent defendant – see Ala. Code § 6-5-410.
Combined, all these factors will help determine how much you’ll receive.
When you’ve been injured in an accident, you need to focus on getting well so you can return to your life. Sadly, that’s not the case for many injured victims in Alabama. Instead, they have to worry about providing for their family, keeping a roof over their heads, and taking care of them.
No one should have to worry about financial uncertainty or ruin just because of someone else’s wrongdoing. Our team of highly experienced personal injury lawyers at Morris, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC, can help take care of these issues.
Our skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys are committed to fighting aggressively for the rights of injured victims and ensuring that they get the settlement they deserve. Our lawyers provide trusted legal advice, support, and representation that will protect your interests.
We’ll fight for you until you are made whole. But you have to hurry as Alabama only has a two-year statute of limitations. This means that you generally have to file a claim within two years of the incident or the discovery of your injury.
If you don’t file your injury claim within those two years, it will be denied and you will be left with no means to recover your losses. So, don’t wait until it’s too late. Come and talk to our experienced personal injury attorneys in Alabama about your case.
Contact us today online or at (888) 694-0174 for a FREE no-obligation case evaluation. We represent people throughout southern Alabama and the Tri-State Area, including Dothan and Mobile.