In our last post, we discussed some of the elements that you would use to calculate the value of your personal injury claim. To review, your claim should include the following: (1) medical expenses; (2) future medical expenses; and (3) property damages. In this post, we’ll review the remaining components of your personal injury claim.
Many people often overlook their lost income when trying to figure out what their claim is worth. To put it simply, lost income can be calculated as any time that you had to take off from work in order to seek medical treatment for or recover from your injuries. This could include the initial visit to the ER, follow-up visits with your doctor, and time you took off for physical therapy. In addition, you can also claim time that you had to take off for recovery. For example, if your doctor ordered you to stay in bed for a week following the accident, you could claim these days as lost income.
Future Lost Income
You can also include any anticipated lost income when figuring out the value of your claim. Let’s say you’re going to need 6 weeks of physical therapy, but so far you’ve only done one week. You know that many of those visits will require that you miss work – you can include those days in your claim even though you haven’t yet gone to the appointment.
In some instances, the injury may be permanent and prevent the victim from working at all or from working full time, or from working in her chosen profession. Let’s use another example: Sophia is a surgeon and is involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, she suffers permanent nerve damage and a loss of the fine motor skills that she needs in order to perform surgery. Sophia can still practice as a doctor, but can no longer be a surgeon. The future earnings that she will lose (which are probably substantial) can be included in the calculation.
These losses are much more difficult to calculate, as they are not easily reduced to a number. In addition, they are often subjective, and therefore people may disagree as to how much someone should be compensated for these numbers. Non-economic losses are what we mean when we refer to “pain and suffering.” To put it another way, these losses reflect the physical and emotional damage caused by the injury. Here are some common issues that are considered “pain and suffering:”
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Clients often ask us if they can seek punitive damages for their injuries. If you don’t know what these are, punitive damages are damages that seek to punish the person who caused the accident in order to deter future bad conduct. They go above and beyond the victims economic and non-economic losses. Unfortunately, punitive damages are only available in cases where the defendant’s conduct was intentional or otherwise truly outrageous. If you want to know more, you can read our post on punitive damages here.
Contact a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you need someone on your side. The insurance company wants to settle your claim for as little money as possible and will do everything in its power to convince you that they are making a fair offer. The lawyers at Slappey & Sadd know better, and can help you get the compensation you truly deserve. We’ve been helping accident victims in the Atlanta area and across Georgia since 1992. Call us at 404-255-6677 or send us an email in order to schedule a free consultation.