If you or a family member has been injured in an accident, this is probably one question you definitely want answered. While a Knoxville personal injury attorney may not have a magic calculator and he may not be able to see into the future, he does understand how to value a personal injury case. The first step in calculating what your personal injury claim is worth is conducting a thorough and complete accident investigation.
Investigating a Personal Injury Claim?
When you are injured in an accident, you suffer physical, financial, and emotional damages. Under Tennessee personal injury laws, you are entitled to receive compensation for all of your damages. However, your attorney must first prove that the other party was responsible for the accident that resulted in your injuries. You can only receive compensation for your damages if your attorney can establish fault. The first step is to complete an accident investigation to identify and preserve key evidence used to prove fault and to prove damages.
Once the investigation is complete, your Knoxville personal injury attorney will begin building a case to prove the negligent party caused the accident and because of the accident you suffered injuries. As part of this process, your attorney will request copies of medical records, accident reports, and other documentation. He will interview witnesses, consult with your physicians, and possibly consult with expert witnesses. Your Knoxville personal injury attorney uses all of the information he discovers during the accident investigation and as you recover from your injuries to prove fault and maximize the amount of compensation you receive from your damages.
How is a Personal Injury Claim Valued?
In a personal injury case, you suffer economic and non-economic damages. Under Tennessee personal injury law you can recover both economic and non-economic damages from the responsible party. Your attorney uses these damages to calculate the value of your personal injury claim. Below are examples of the types of damages you may be entitled to receive for your personal injury claim.
Economic damages are those damages that result in actual financial losses due to the accident. Examples of economic damages include but are not limited to:
- Past, present, and future lost wages
- Past, present and future medical expenses
- Property damage
- Loss of earning capacity
- Funeral, cremation, and burial expenses in the case of death
- Other out-of-pocket expenses such a travel expenses, over-the-counter medications, medical supplies, personal care, etc.
To calculate economic damages you add the actual cost of each damage to arrive at a total. However, some economic damages are not quite that simple. For example, future lost wages, future medical bills, and loss of earning capacity are much more difficult to calculate. Several factors including your age, type of injury, severity of injury, and previous earnings are all factors used to calculate future damages. In most cases, we utilize the services of financial experts, medical professionals, and other experts to assist us with calculating the value of future damages.
Non-economic damages are subjective in nature because each person experiences these types of damages differently. Two injury victims can suffer the same exact physical injury (i.e. broken bone) but one victim may suffer greater physical pain and have a permanent disability from the broken bone. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Mental anguish and stress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of support, companionship, and guidance
Keeping a detailed pain and suffering journal can help your attorney demonstrate how the accident has impacted your life by detailing your pain level, your stress, emotional suffering, and inability to perform tasks you did prior to the accident. In some cases, expert witnesses can also help define the level of your non-economic damages. Our experienced injury attorneys have years of experience translating non-economic damages into a dollar amount that maximizes the compensation you receive for your injuries.
What Are Punitive Damages?
In a very few cases, injured victims may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to “punish” the wrongdoer by adding to the financial compensation owed to the accident victim. Punitive damages are reserved for the worst type of personal injury cases where malicious, intentional, fraudulent, or reckless actions are involved. Punitive damages are not awarded in all cases; however, punitive damages can serve as a warning to others that this type of egregious behavior will not be tolerated.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident?
The personal injury attorneys of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC have extensive experience calculating compensation in personal injury cases. If you or a family member have been injured in an accident, contact our accident lawyers by calling 865-292-2307 or fill out the contact from. Schedule a free legal consultation with a Knoxville personal injury attorney so that you can get legal advice when you need it the most.