Compensation in a personal injury claim refers to a financial award to make up for an injured victim’s losses, such as medical bills and losses of income. If you were recently injured in an accident in Arizona, you could be eligible for compensation from the party that caused your accident. How much you receive will depend on several key factors unique to your case.
Type and Level of the Injury
The main factor that affects the amount of compensation available for a personal injury claim is the severity of the injury. A catastrophic injury, such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, may be permanent, generating damages such as future medical costs, lost quality of life and emotional distress. Serious injuries will impact victims more significantly – making them eligible for a higher amount of compensation, in general.
Costs of Medical Treatment
A large portion of any settlement or judgment award goes to paying for the victim’s medical bills. The amount of these bills will be higher with a serious injury that requires emergency care, a hospital stay, surgeries and rehabilitation; thus, the amount of the compensation available will be higher in correlation. An injury that requires expensive or long-term medical care will typically result in greater compensation than a minor injury.
How Long the Injury Will Take You Out of Work
Lost wages are another main category of damages for a personal injury claim. If your accident and injury take you out of work, you should not have to forfeit the income you would have otherwise made. The defendant will owe you money to make up for your lost wages. The amount recoverable within this category will depend on how much you made before your accident, on average, as well as the length of time the injury will prevent you from returning to work.
You may be able to seek a lost wage award for a temporary or permanent hiatus from work after an accident. If your injury temporarily prevents you from performing the essential functions of your job, you can receive compensation until you can return. If you can’t do what you used to at work, but your boss gives you a less strenuous job that pays less, seek the difference between your old pay and the new. You can receive lifelong benefits if you have a permanent injury and cannot work at all.
Pain and Suffering
Medical bills and lost wages are economic damages. Pain and suffering, on the other hand, are noneconomic damages. While hard evidence such as bills and receipts are used to calculate economic damages, it is up to a jury’s discretion how much to award a victim in noneconomic damages. In general, a victim with more serious injuries, physical pain, emotional distress and psychological trauma will receive more in pain and suffering than someone with a minor injury.
In most personal injury cases, the defendant does not pay a settlement out of pocket. Instead, he or she uses an insurance policy. The amount recovered, therefore, is often contingent on the insurance coverage available. You can improve your chances of having enough insurance coverage to fully pay for your losses by identifying multiple defendants, such as a careless driver as well as his or her employer.
In Arizona, a comparative negligence law (Arizona Revised Statute 12-2505) can reduce your amount of compensation if you contributed to the accident. The courts will reduce your compensation in proportion to your percentage of fault, if any. If you were partially to blame for the accident or injury, you may receive less money from the defendant.
Can You Increase Your Award?
If you wish to obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible for your personal injury claim, work with a Glendale personal injury attorney from the very beginning of your case. An attorney can help you prove your injury, establish the defendant’s fault and negotiate for an amount that adequately covers your losses. A lawyer will not let you settle for less than your claim is truly worth.