Personal injury claims are quite common these days, as more and more people are aware of their legal rights after they have been injured due to the negligence and carelessness of others. We at the Sorkin Law Group in Irvine CA, handle many of these cases on a daily basis and are sympathetic and dedicated lawyers who have built up an enviable reputation in the Irvine area for the speed and efficiency in handling such cases.
The most common injuries in the U.S. are those inflicted in vehicle accidents on our busy roads and highways and the second most common are slips and falls on other people’s property, which could range from a local authority administered sidewalk and a public library to a private or public building, administered by a variety of different companies or organizations.
The most important point about an accident is that if a personal injury claim is to be considered, the victim must have been affected by an injury. An accident in itself is not eligible for any monetary compensation. Most victims of accidents would not even contemplate filing a damages claim unless they thought their injuries were going to result in some form of financial hardship or they thought it necessary to make the person who caused their injury accountable.
In all personal injury cases, money is paid to the injured person, who is referred to as the plaintiff, by the individual or company who is proven to be legally accountable for the accident. The term used for the person at fault is the defendant. There are various ways a damages agreement is reached and often the monetary amount is decided after negotiations between the plaintiff and their attorney. In some circumstances, when negotiations fail, the case is heard in front of a judge and jury, who make the final decision.
The majority of damages in personal injury cases are characterized as “compensatory,” which means they are designed as compensation to the injured plaintiff for the losses that the person has had to suffer due to an accident that was not their fault. An award of this type is designed to ensure the plaintiff who has been injured has not lost out financially as a result of the accident. The whole negotiation procedure involves itemizing all the various aspects of the case that may have caused or might still cause a financial burden to the plaintiff. This basically means trying to place a dollar amount on all the disadvantages that have inflicted the victim as a result of the accident and resultant injuries.
If damage to property has taken place in the accident or a huge medical treatment bill has resulted, then these items are easy to assess and put a figure on. However, it is much harder to evaluate the cost of suffering and pain as the loss in quality of life could mean no longer riding a bicycle, playing ice hockey or a hundred other activities that the victim had enjoyed before the accident.
Medical treatment is the first priority when it comes to formulating a personal injury award. Treatment at the time of the accident and any further medical support into the future until the person fully regains their health is also calculated. Our lawyers at the Sorkin Law Group work tirelessly to ensure that the victims we represent are compensated fully for all the medical costs for their injuries.
Often, any loss in wages or salary is considered and added to the claim. This could include present loss of income and any disadvantage the person might have in their earning potential in the future due to their accident. In personal injury law, the term “legalese”, is used for damages which are valued on future income that the accident victim could have earned if it hadn’t been for the accident.
If there were any vehicles or personal possessions that were damaged in the accident then the victim can make a monetary claim for them, factoring in their market value.
Pain and suffering is a bit of a gray area as it is more difficult to put a firm figure on discomfort and pain as an outcome of a personal injury.
These are designed to compensate a personal injury plaintiff for the psychological injury, which could include sleepless nights and anxiety.
These are damages which are related to the impact of the relationship the injured victim has with their spouse, which in some serious injury cases could be loss of companionship in its various forms.
In situations where the conduct of the defendant has been particularly egregious or careless, a plaintiff may be entitled to punitive damages plus compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are a little different from punitive as their aim is to help to return the victim to as normal a state as possible while punitive damages when awarded to the plaintiff is a way of punishing the defendant for his or her behavior. Unlike compensatory damages, there is normally a cash limit on these which varies from state to state.