If you are considering filing a personal injury case in Portland, you should be thinking about how much your personal injury claim is actually worth. This is called “damages” – how much money will compensate you for your losses of property, health, peace of mind, etc.
Of course, you are thinking, “No money could compensate me for the stress and anguish I’ve endured from this accident,” but the point of personal injury lawyers is to fight to at least get you some monetary compensation, even if it’s not the answer to all your physical and emotional hardships.
In a successful personal injury case, monetary damages are paid to the injury victim to the defendant (or, in most cases, the defendant’s insurance company). This amount can be agreed upon during negotiations between the personal injury lawyer and the insurance company’s adjusters and lawyers, or the amount can be ordered by a judge (after a trial or arbitration). Either way, it’s hard to say how much money will be awarded because there are so many different factors that must be considered when determining how much the personal injury claim is worth.
There are two types of damages in a personal injury claim, and it is the personal injury lawyer’s job to try and determine how much all of these damages are worth – and use this information to make a demand upon the defendant’s insurance company. As you will see, determining this amount is complicated so do not call a personal injury lawyer’s office and demand to know how much your case is worth – no good lawyer will give you a figure without first gathering information from you.
The first type of damages are called Compensatory Damages. This means that this money is meant to compensate you for what you’ve lost, which can be difficult because not all losses are monetary. Despite this, personal injury lawyers need to attempt to put a dollar figure on the losses sustained by the injury victim.
Compensatory damages include:
- Medical treatments
- Property loss
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
The second type of damages are called Punitive Damages. Unlike the Compensatory Damages, these damages are not meant to help the injury victim in a personal injury case as much as punish the defendant for horrendous behavior. For example, in the famous McDonald’s coffee case, the plaintiff (injured woman) was awarded a lot of money in punitive damages because McDonald’s had ignored hundreds of complaints about the coffee being way too hot. Often, punitive damages are rewarded if the defendant is a company, but most states also have caps on these types of damages for personal injury claims.
After looking at all these factors, a personal injury lawyer is trained to make a reasonable estimate about how much your personal injury case is worth. Of course, investigating all of these things can take months, especially if you are still treating for your injuries. Often it is best to find a lawyer to help you through treatments and guide you through the legal process because in Oregon you only have a certain amount of time to file a personal injury claim and you don’t want to be scrambling for a lawyer at the last minute. Let a legal professional, a Portland personal injury lawyer, help you determine how much your case worth and help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.