If you or a loved one are injured in an accident, many types of compensation may be available regardless of whether the injury is caused by a car wreck, premises liability incident (such as a “slip and fall”), or medical malpractice. This article will generally discuss a few of the major types of compensation that an accident victim may legally recover.
Obviously, because an injured person will need medical care, medical expenses are the most commonly-claimed form of compensation. A claimant may recover the costs of treatment from a hospital, doctor, ambulance, chiropractor, physical therapist, pharmacy or other similar medical provider. These costs are usually relatively simple to determine because the patient will receive a bill.
There are two important things to remember about compensation for medical costs. First, a claimant may recover not just the cost of medical care already received, but also the cost of future medical care, as long as the claimant can prove it is more likely than not that they will receive that treatment in the future. For example, if a doctor agrees that a claimant will probably need a future surgery for accident-related injuries, the claimant has a good argument that the cost of the surgery should be recovered now. Second, a claimant may recover the amount of his or her medical bills even if they were paid by health insurance or some other source. This rule is based on the idea that a defendant who injures someone else should not be allowed to “take credit” for payments made by someone else.
Lost wages are also recoverable. If an accident has left someone unable to work, he or she can seek compensation for the income they lost as a result. Another type of compensation similar to this is that for “loss of future earnings“ or “diminished earning capacity.” This refers to situations where a claimant’s injuries will prevent him or her from returning to work at their full pre-accident capacity.
Most people have heard of compensation for “pain and suffering.” Unlike medical bills or lost wages, there is no set formula to determine the dollar amount of a person’s pain and suffering, so a jury must determine the amount. This is why this type of compensation is often referred to as “non-economic damages.” Insurance companies often fight hard on this issue. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how best to convince an insurance company that a jury is likely to award a large amount for pain and suffering.
While the types of accident compensation discussed here are the most common, there are other types a claimant may recover. This is why it is in an injured person’s best interest to hire an experienced attorney. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, do not try to go it alone. Consult an attorney in your area to ensure that you have the best chance of recovering all the compensation to which you are entitled.