One of the hardest things to do after an injury or an accident is to assess the personal injury at the early stages of a case. For the true cost of a case to be known, the victim has to seek medical care, get therapy and fully recover. Since this process could be very expensive and time-consuming, it is advisable to seek legal representation. This is important because personal injury lawyers are highly skilled, well-informed, resourceful and experienced to help you get necessary funding treatment you much require.
When assessing damages, you should consider the following factors:
Monetary damages which involve vehicle accidents are paid by a defendant who is held responsible by the law. In most cases, insurance companies are the ones who are supposed to pay the victims, but they always find a means to settle the payments before a trial to avoid paying a lot of money.
When assessing the value of claim, you should consider:
• Nature of your injury
• Severity of impact on your ability to work as well as on other daily activities such as recreational activities and house chores
• The cause of your injury
You should understand that; it’s only after getting concrete information from your medical specialist that your personal injury lawyer can provide you with the accurate assessment of your claim. Therefore, you should be open and cooperative to your lawyer to make it easy for him or her help you get your claim. Getting a knowledgeable lawyer who is experienced can be able to review the case presented, refer to previous similar cases which have been handled and get ideas from the same.
Ideally, personal injury damages are classified as compensatory because they are mainly intended to compensate the injured individual what they lost because of the injury or the accident. Even though some damages can be compensated easily by calculating the monetary value of the property damaged or paying medical bills incurred, others are very difficult to compensate e.g. calculating the monetary value of pain experienced, inability to enjoy hobbies or any other personal limitations. Therefore, even if you will get compensated, you should understand that you cannot be repaid fully for what you lost in the process.
Common types of damages in personal injury cases
Medical treatment. This involves paying all the medical costs incurred from the accident or injury. They can also include the out of pockets expenses as well as any other estimated medical cost you would incur in future involving the same injury.
Pain and suffering (non-pecuniary general damages)
As a result of the pain and suffering you are going through, or you will continue to endure in future, the insurance company can compensate you. Although The Supreme Court of Canada had capped a number of damages one should be awarded for pain incurred in 1978, the amount has since increased due to inflation experienced. However, if your claim is from an accident caused by a motor vehicle, there are certain requirements (known as threshold) which you should meet to claim your pain and suffering claims. This means that you cannot get pain or suffering claims if you don’t meet any of this threshold during your trial in court.
Tim Louis & Company Law pointed out that for your claim to pass threshold, either of the following injury results should have involved your motor vehicle:
• Permanent serious disfigurement which involves loss a limb or scars
• Permanent serious impairment of an important physical, psychological or mental function
If the impact of the accident or injuries affects your salary or wages in the past or future, you are entitled to get compensation. As discussed above, there are some requirements which you should meet to get this compensation. You cannot get your claim of income loss for the first seven days after the accident because there is no guarantee that you will lose your income. When getting your claim, you will only be able to receive 80% of the net income with a guarantee of receiving 100% of your gross income after your trial.
Housekeeping and Home Maintenance services. As a result of your injuries; you will be able to get compensation for housekeeping and home maintenance services that you need for your upkeep that you can no longer be able to perform yourself.
Loss of property
If you lost or damaged any clothing or personal items e.g. cellular phones and laptops due to the accident, insurance company is supposed to reimburse for the repairs or compensation of property lost or damaged. However, if these expenses are not recovered in a lawsuit, you can get your claim in a law suit (tort claim).
Family members claim. According to Ontario’s Family Law Act (FLA), your family members can sue the defendant to because of the loss due to care, guidance, and sufferings they have gone through due to the injuries of the victim.
However, there are no deductibles which family members can claim if death results from the accident. Spouses, children, parents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and grandparents are the only eligible family members who can be able to get the victim’s claim.
It is vital to have legal knowledge or get assistance to be able to make the right choices in making your claims.
Here are the types of damages which are discoverable in a claim under FLA:
• Reasonable funeral expenses which are incurred
• Reasonable travel expenses which are incurred when visiting a victim during his or her treatment or recovery
• Reasonable expenses incurred due to the benefit of the person injured or killed in an injury or accident
• In case of an injury and the claimant can provide nursing, housekeeping and any other services to the victim, reasonable allowances for loss of income and the value of services provided can be claimed
• Money damages which have resulted from the loss of income from the person killed or injured can be claimed
• The amount to compensate loss of guidance, care and companionship services which the claimant expected to receive from the injured or dead victim
The effect of injured victim (plaintiff’s) actions or inactions• If an injured victim contributed to an accident or an injury or through their inaction after injury e.g. by not seeking medical attention, there can be very little or no amount of damages to compensate the individual. Therefore, the victim can lack compensation if he or she had contributory negligence or if the victim fails to take care of his or her safety and hence the negligence has resulted in the loss.
• In motor vehicles accidents, the following reductions were imposed by courts:
• If the plaintiff fails to wear seatbelts, he or she may be found 15% to 25% contributory negligence
• Plaintiff fail to wear helmet while riding bikes or motorcycles may be found to be between 10 % and 15% contributory negligence
• An injured victim due to taking alcohol or any other drugs as well as willing passengers who are with the impaired driver and have suffered injuries may have 25%-45% contributory negligence
An injured victim has a role in mitigating damages. Therefore, they should take responsible steps to reduce the financial impact which results from the accident. He or she should seek medical attention because it is of paramount importance to avoid losing their claims on negligence.