Most accident victims understand they can seek to recover compensation for their medical bills. But in addition to medical expenses, accidents often cause many other types of losses. And for each loss, the victim can seek to recover additional compensation. If you’ve been injured in an accident in Cody, Wyoming, Cheyenne, Wyoming, or Casper, Wyoming, a local personal injury attorney can help identify all the damages applicable to your accident and maximize the value of your claim.
What Types of Compensation Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help You Recover?
The purpose of personal injury law is to protect you financially when you or your property is harmed as a result of someone else’s negligence. In these cases, it’s fair that the negligent party financially compensate you for each different type of harm or loss that you’ve suffered.
These compensatory sums of money are called damages. There are two main types of compensatory damages: special damages and general damages. It’s important to understand both, as either type might be applicable to your claim.
Special damages are clear objective financial losses that you’ve suffered. You might have already paid and received a bill or receipt, so the price of each special damage is usually relatively straightforward to determine and prove.
Special damages are also known as economic damages. Here are a few of the more common types of special damages in personal injury claims:
The most common type of special damage is the medical costs resulting from the accident. This might include fees from your family physician, hospital bills, ambulance fees, prescription costs, physical therapy expenses, home care nurses, diagnostic testing fees, and any other costs of treatment.
It’s often best to wait until your treatment is completed before claiming your total medical damages. But if your injury is particularly severe and requires long-term treatment, then you may also seek to recover damages for future medical expenses. Estimating these future expenses usually takes an experienced lawyer and assisting medical professionals.
Motor vehicle collisions frequently cause vehicle damage, and other types of accidents may also cause damage to property. You can seek to recover the costs of repairing or replacing any harmed property. You’ll need to provide evidence such as vehicle repair estimates or receipts, or comparable market prices for similar cars in the case of a destroyed vehicle.
Many injuries leave the accident victim unable to work for a period of time. Any earnings you’ve lost as a result of your accident may be recovered from the at-fault party. You’ll often need pay stubs, bank statements, or tax returns to prove this lost income, plus statements from your employer and physician.
Not only can you seek to recover a lost salary or hourly wage, but you can also pursue recompense for any missed commissions, bonuses, promotions, perks, free meals, transport costs, and paid days off. As with medical expenses, you may also be facing future lost income if your capacity to earn has been diminished. Calculating future lost earnings is often a complex task requiring a skillful attorney and possible expert vocational or accounting witnesses.
In wrongful death cases, the unexpected funeral costs can place a serious financial burden on the loved ones of the deceased. An attorney may be able to help ensure that the responsible party covers all expenses related to the funeral.
Following many accidents, the victim may also seek general damages. These are damages for losses that lack a clear objective monetary price as special damages usually do. There’s no specific objective price tag you can place on psychological suffering, for instance.
Nevertheless, these subjective damages frequently make up a large component of the total value of a personal injury claim. General damages are also known as non-economic damages. Here are a few common examples:
Pain and Suffering
Injuries often cause a lot of physical pain to the victim. Treatment procedures might also cause further pain. If you’ve been through a great deal of pain following your accident, it’s your legal right to seek compensation from the party responsible for your accident.
As the most common type of general damage, pain and suffering usually comprises both physical pain and the accompanying emotional suffering. Pain and suffering is a term that’s sometimes used to encompass all general damages.
While inherently difficult to calculate, an experienced personal injury lawyer can value pain and suffering damages using various methods. Sometimes the more easily measurable economic damages are multiplied by a factor of one to five, depending on the severity of the pain. Sometimes it’s worked out on a per-diem daily basis.
When damages focus on the psychological harm caused by the accident, it’s often called emotional distress. This might include any kind of psychological suffering such as trauma, humiliation, grief, anger or frustration, sleep loss, and more.
Emotional distress might also be calculated using a multiplier effect. To help prove the value of your psychological damages, your lawyer may retain therapists or psychologists as expert witnesses.
Scarring or Disfigurement
If an accident leaves you scarred or disfigured in some way, this can have a huge impact on your life and sense of well-being. And so, you have a right to seek compensation.
Scarring or disfigurement can be caused by road rash in a car accident or burns from fire, steam, chemicals, or electricity. Scars can also result from dog bites, surgical errors, skin conditions from a defective product, and many other kinds of accidents.
Disability or Impairment
When an accident causes a problem with the proper functioning of the victim’s body structure or internal organs, they have suffered a disability. When this disability somehow impedes their ability to work or enjoy their usual pastimes, they’re suffering an impairment. Both of these damages can be significant, but an impairment tends to receive higher value because of the additional negative impact on the victim’s life.
Loss of Enjoyment in Life
Any way in which your overall quality of life has been reduced by your physical or mental injuries may also be claimed in your damages. Calculating loss of enjoyment in life includes looking at your usual recreational and social activities from before the accident and observing how your ability to partake in or enjoy these activities has been altered.
Loss of Consortium
Accidents can also devastate the victim’s important relationships and social support structures. If you’ve lost companionship, intimacy, love, care, affection, parental guidance, or any other valued element from your close relationships, you have a legal right to pursue compensation. Loss of consortium often plays an especially important role in wrongful death claims, where the deceased has been suddenly torn away from the lives of their loved ones.
Calculating Your Damages in Cody, Wyoming, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Casper, Wyoming
These are the most common examples of special and general compensatory damages in a personal injury case, although there are more. Calculating future expenses and general damages in particular is often a difficult affair.
But with experience in similar cases and extensive legal know-how, your attorney can put a price on each damage and help ensure that you’re not leaving any money on the table in your claim. As personal injury laws vary state by state, it’s best to find a local attorney who knows Wyoming’s laws inside out.
Contact Ochs Law Firm today at 307-243-4815 for a free initial consultation. Our personal injury attorney is familiar with Wyoming personal injury law and can calculate the full value of the damages and compensation you deserve.