One of the first questions you may find yourself asking when bringing a Durham personal injury case is: how much is my claim actually worth? No matter the cause of your personal injury, the answer to your question will rely on various aspects of your case.
The actual monetary amount you may be rewarded is called “damages”. These damages are essentially determined in one of two ways: 1) a settlement outside of court or 2) by a jury of peers in a court of law.
To understand exactly how your damages are computed, you will want to have a basic understanding of the types of damages available. The two types of damages you may be awarded are: 1) Compensatory and 2) Punitive.
Compensatory damages are intended to offset particular losses you may have experienced as a result of your personal injury, including:
- Medical expenses: the actual costs of any treatment or rehabilitation directly related to injuries sustained
- Property damage: any damages sustained to your personal property resulting from the case (i.e. automobile damage)
- Lost wages: as a result of the incident and injuries, if you are unable to work, the wages or salaries that you would have earned may be compensated for. This could potentially include future wages depending on how severely the injury affects future job performance.
- Pain & suffering: the physical afflictions your experiences as a result of the personal injury. This area of damages can be difficult to quantify, due to the fact that the concept of “pain” is hard to translate into dollars.
- Emotional distress: any type of mental anguish related to personal injury, which may include terror, shock, sleep deprivation, depression, etc. These aspects may be considered part of “pain and suffering” damages. In North Carolina, this distress must be considered “severe and disabling” in order to garner an award.
- Loss of consortium: the degree to which your personal injury affects your ability to participate in your relationship with your spouse or significant other.
Punitive damages are essentially damages awarded to the plaintiff due to the reckless or outrageous nature of the defendant’s actions. Drunk driving is a specific example of conduct that can be considered “reckless”. The intentions of these damages are not to compensate the plaintiff, but rather to punish the defendant.
As you can see, based on the wide range of considerations taken into your personal injury case, it is difficult to provide a concrete calculation of what your specific case is worth. In order to best determine the amount, you are entitled to, speak to your Durham Personal Injury Attorney at Wallace Pierce Law.