Available Damages in North Carolina Personal Injury Cases
Whether it is a car accident or a medical malpractice claim, you may be entitled to compensation if you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. In legal terminology, the compensation you are entitled to seek is referred to as “damages.” Understanding what damages are available in your injury is necessary to understand whether you should pursue a claim and what it may be worth. Many injured people decide to forgo pursuing a claim or accept a settlement offer without fully understanding what they are entitled to. If you have been injured in an accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer can explain what damages you can seek and what your claim may be worth.
You Deserve to Be Made Whole
If you have been severely injured in an accident, there is no amount of compensation that can undo what happened, especially if you are facing a permanent disability. This is a particularly harsh truth for families who have lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Nonetheless, the law recognizes that those who have been injured in an accident deserve to be made whole. As a result, accident victims are entitled to compensation for all of their losses and not just their medical expenses.
Two Types of Damages
There are two types of damages in most personal injury cases:
- Economic damages. Economic damages are those losses that can be identified as a specific dollar amount. In other words, economic damages represent a financial loss that you suffered as a result of your accident. Examples of economic damages in personal injury cases include medical bills and lost wages.
- Non-economic damages. These are damages that do not have a specific dollar amount, as they do not involve some kind of financial loss. They are subjective in nature and are intended to compensate victims for losses such as physical pain, emotional distress, loss of companionship, or loss of enjoyment.
If you have suffered a significant injury, it is likely that you are entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are a fairly simple calculation, but determining the amount of non-economic damages you are entitled to is more complex. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can ensure that you seek the damages you are entitled to so that you are fairly compensated for your losses.
Most people who have been injured in an accident are primarily concerned with getting their medical expenses paid and for good reason – medical care is expensive, and an accident can result in exorbitant medical bills. For accident victims who do not have health insurance, pursuing a personal injury claim may be the only way they can avoid bankruptcy and get the care they need. An accident can be expensive even if you have health insurance. Deductibles and copays add up quickly, leaving you on the hook for thousands of dollars.
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for all of your medical expenses arising from the accident. This includes the following:
- Your current medical expenses
- Your future medical expenses
- Rehabilitative care
- Assistive equipment such as crutches or wheelchairs
- Home modifications
- Copays and deductibles
If you have health insurance, the amount of coverage you have received will be relevant to your claim, but of course, you cannot receive compensation for expenses that were covered by your insurance.
You will need to keep copies of all bills and invoices as well as your medical records in order to prove your claim. This can be challenging for those who are suffering from severe injuries. If you will need ongoing medical care, you may need an expert who can estimate your future medical expenses. A personal injury lawyer can help gather the documents and other evidence you will need to get the compensation necessary to cover your medical expenses.
You may also be able to seek damages for any income that you have lost as a result of your accident. This can include lost wages for a few hours that you missed to go to doctor appointments or physical therapy, as well as days, weeks, or even months for more serious injuries. If you suffer a permanent injury that affects your ability to work, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Lost future income
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost retirement or investment income
You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages whether you are unable to work at all or are able to only work at a reduced capacity. A personal injury attorney will be able to assess what lost income you are entitled to so that your future is protected.
Permanent injuries and disabilities require special consideration. They will impact your ability to earn a living and take care of your family and usually require ongoing medical care. Furthermore, a permanent disability is likely to cause greater pain and suffering. If you are facing a permanent injury or disability, we strongly recommend that you contact a personal injury lawyer to make sure that you get the compensation that you and your family will need moving forward.
Pain and Suffering
As mentioned above, you are also entitled under the law to be made whole, which includes compensation for your non-economic losses. In personal injury cases, this usually consists of compensation for your pain and suffering – the physical pain and mental anguish that you experienced or will continue to experience as a result of your accident. This can be comprised of the following:
- Loss of enjoyment of hobbies and other activities
- Inability to engage in daily living activities
- Sexual dysfunction and incontinence
- Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental disorders (note that you may be entitled to compensation for medical treatment as well)
Many people think that there is no rational basis for the compensation that is sought for pain and suffering in personal injury claims. This is not the case. It is important to appropriately formulate your claim for non-economic damages so that you can get the compensation you deserve without undermining your credibility. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to build a strong case for the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.
Injured? Contact Martin & Jones Today
If you have been injured in an accident, getting full and fair compensation is vital to rebuilding your life. A personal injury lawyer from Martin & Jones can get you a fair result. Call 800-662-1234 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.Share This
The law firm you choose makes a difference. If you are the victim of an accident or an illness that someone else caused, the North Carolina personal injury law firm of Martin & Jones has the depth of experience, skills and sensitivity to make your road to recovery as smooth as possible. Whether you have experience with the legal system or have never hired a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer before, our attorneys and staff will do our best to answer your questions, provide clear advice and prepare you and your family for what to expect. If you would like more information or to meet with one of our attorneys, please fill out the form below or call us at 800.662.1234.