When Should You File a Personal Injury Claim?
After an accident or injury, you may be uncertain whether you have grounds for a personal injury claim. Generally speaking, if someone else was at fault for the incident, you likely have a case. Note that the “someone else” does not have to be another person; a company, property owner, manufacturer, or another entity could be liable for your injuries.
To determine whether you have grounds for a personal injury claim, ask yourself the following:
- Did another person or party have an expressed or implied responsibility to act reasonably and avoid causing you injury or harm?
- Did the other person or party fail to uphold this responsibility, either by acting negligently, carelessly, recklessly, or wrongfully?
- Were you injured as a result of the other person or party’s negligent, careless, reckless, or wrongful conduct?
- Did you sustain specific measurable damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering related to your injury?
Recoverable Damages in Personal Injury Claims
The purpose of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit is to recover financial compensation for damages you have suffered as a result of the accident and/or your injuries. Because every case is different, the exact damages you may be able to recover, as well as the overall value of your claim, will depend on the many unique factors involved.
That being said, many personal injury plaintiffs seek compensation for the following damages:
- All medical expenses related to the accident/injury
- Projected future medical care costs
- Lost income, wages, and/or employment benefits
- Lost or reduced earning ability
- Loss of expected future earnings due to disability or impairment
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
You may also be entitled to recover for miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel to and from medical appointments, home modifications to accommodate a disability, or in-home assistance and care.
In some cases, injured victims may also be entitled to punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the victim for specific losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant. Typically, punitive damages are only available in cases involving egregious acts of negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, or intentional infliction of injury.