Recovering from an accident injury is fraught with physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Trying to figure out how much your accident claim is worth is another source of stress during an already difficult time.
There are many factors involved in estimating personal injury compensation. Each factor can have a significant impact on the compensation you are entitled to receive. This article will touch on the key considerations and explain how personal injury compensation is calculated.
How much is your personal injury claim worth?
At the outset, it must be said: the best way to get an understanding of your claim’s value is to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer. Our Oshawa and Lindsay accident claims lawyers offer free case evaluations. We can review your case and give you our legal opinion on how much your claim is worth.
What types of personal injury damages can you recover?
There are two main types of damages to be considered when determining what an accident claim is worth:
General damages (also known as non-pecuniary damages), which are intended to compensate you for intangible losses including loss of enjoyment of life and for pain and suffering.
Special damages (also known as pecuniary damages), which provide compensation for your out-of-pocket expenses and economic losses. Examples include medical expenses; treatment costs (now and in the future); extra costs for yard work/snow removal, housekeeping, or child care; income loss while recovering from accident injuries; and loss of future earning capacity.
What is the nature and extent of your injuries?
The value of your accident claim depends on the severity of your injuries, your prognosis for recovery, and how the injuries impact your life. Are your injuries expected to heal completely, or will you be left with ongoing pain, restrictions, and limitations? Did you have surgery? Did the injuries negatively impact your relationship with family and friends? Are you able to do sports, hobbies, and other activities as you did before the accident?
Those are just some of the considerations that impact calculation of damages. The nature and extent of your injuries must be compared to personal injury cases involving similar circumstances to determine the range of what your claim is worth. Experienced accident claim lawyers draw on their knowledge and assess your damages in comparison to past cases and court decisions.
Can you prove the nature and extent of your injuries and losses?
As the injured party (Plaintiff) in a personal injury claim, you are responsible for proving your case. In other words, the value of your accident claim depends on the strength of your proof.
General damage claims are substantiated by providing medical records, treatment notes, doctors’ reports, specialists’ reports, X-rays and other scans. Also very important: your own testimony and testimony from friends, family members, and/or employers about how the accident impacts your life.
Special damages must be proven by providing documents such as receipts, pay stubs/tax returns, employment records, etc. to substantiate the actual losses and expenses you incurred because of the accident. You will only receive compensation for future loss or damage if you’re able to show that there is a reasonable chance that you’ll suffer these loses into the future. Your compensation may hinge on obtaining an expert report on your future care plan or an expert analysis of your career trajectory to prove loss of earning potential pre-and post-accident.
Other factors that can impact personal injury compensation
Was someone wholly or partly at fault for your injuries? If so, you can file a claim against the at-fault person to recover damages. It doesn’t matter if the injury was caused as a result of a car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, or defective product. You can sue the other driver, the owner of the dog, the property owner, or the manufacturer of the product that harmed you.
An important note on the issue of fault: if you were injured in a car accident, you can file an Accident Benefits claim to secure compensation regardless of fault. You’re entitled to claim benefits such as medical and rehabilitation benefits and income replacement benefits through your own insurance policy, irrespective of fault for the auto accident. That can be particularly important if you suffered long-term or permanently disabling injuries (e.g., brain injury, catastrophic impairment). You should consider working with a lawyer to get an estimate of your entitlement to accident benefits and to ensure you receive the full amount of compensation to which you’re entitled.
You are entitled to compensation even if you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. If you are found to be partially at fault, your total recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault (a legal concept known as “contributory negligence”). Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may still be entitled to a large sum of money despite your contributory negligence.
Never assume that you will be found responsible or at-fault. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer about how the accident took place first to determine if you have a claim. Remember as well that your personal injury lawyer’s job is to defend against allegations of contributory negligence to maximize the compensation you receive. We have helped countless accident victims by minimizing or altogether defeating allegations of contributorily negligence.
The underlying principle of personal injury damages is to put you back in the position you would’ve been in had the accident not occurred. That means pre-existing injuries or medical conditions can impact the bottom line in personal injury cases (e.g., previous back pain and then a back injury caused by an accident; a history of depression/anxiety and then worsened depression/anxiety after the accident).
Personal injury compensation depends on proving causation. The defendant will argue that they didn’t cause your current health condition; that your pre-existing injury or illness could have resulted in your post-accident state, and your compensation should be reduced accordingly. To maximize your compensation, you will need to provide evidence to prove that your pre-existing issue was made worse by the accident, or that the pre-existing issue was different or not “active” (for example, you had back pain 5 years prior to the accident, but no issues in the 4 years leading up to the accident).
Personal injury damages can be reduced based on steps you did—or didn’t—take after the accident. You’re required to take reasonable steps to mitigate your damages. If you don’t, your compensation will be reduced accordingly.
To avoid losing out on full personal injury damages, follow the advice of your doctor and medical professionals, participate in rehabilitation programs or appropriate treatments that will help you during your recovery, and continue to work/earn income to the best of your abilities after the accident.
Get Trusted Advice from Our Accident Claims Lawyers
Lindsay and Oshawa lawyers at Kelly Greenway Bruce are here to help you determine what your claim is worth and maximize your personal injury compensation. We welcome you to contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.