The amount of a personal injury claim can vary drastically – even when two cases appear similar on the surface. There are several factors that affect the compensation you can receive for a personal injury claim. This article provides insight on how personal injury claims are valued and what can affect the amount of your settlement.
Establishing a Personal Injury Claim
First, it must be determined that you have a legitimate personal injury claim to pursue. To recover financially due to an injury, you must be able to prove that another party breached a duty of care that was owed to you. As a result of breaching that duty, you suffered harm.
For example, property owners generally owe a duty of care to visitors and guests to maintain a safe environment. If an owner failed to correct a dangerous condition in a reasonable amount of time, and you were injured because of this inaction, you could have a personal injury claim and receive financial compensation.
Type and Severity of Injuries
Defining the injury is the starting point in determining personal injury compensation in Connecticut. Specifically, your personal injury attorney and the insurance company will evaluate the following:
- What is the injury?
- How difficult is it to prove the extent of the injury?
- What is the cost of medical expenses?
- Is ongoing medical treatment or physical therapy required?
- What will the injury cost in lost wages and future earning potential?
- How will the injury affect the victim’s lifestyle or quality of life?
- Is the injury permanent?
- Did the victim suffer emotional distress?
Logically, the more serious an injury, the higher the potential compensation. However, the injury itself is just one factor. An insurance company (or a jury) will also evaluate how the injury affects your life moving forward.
Another factor to consider in determining compensation is the person’s age. For example, a younger person may be more affected by a permanent injury than a senior citizen who may be nearing the end of life or is less active. As a result, the level of compensation can be higher for younger people.
Percentage of Fault
Connecticut follows a comparative fault standard, meaning that the compensation you receive may be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if you sustain a slip and fall injury at a department store, but the fall happened because you were texting and walking, it might be determined that you bear 20% of the blame. Therefore, your compensation would be reduced by 20%. A claim valued at $100,000 would be adjusted to $80,000 to account for comparative fault.
Expert Witness Testimony
Proving fault and the extent of injuries can be subjective. Therefore, both sides may hire expert witnesses to testify to prove that compensation should be higher or lower. Expert witnesses include doctors, forensic experts, and accident reconstructionists.
When an expert witness can strengthen your case by proving your injury or exonerating you from blame, this can increase the amount of personal injury compensation.
If the insurance company denies a personal injury claim or you are unable to agree on a settlement amount, the case could go to trial. Here, the jury calculates your personal injury compensation and may consider punitive damages.
Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant who acts in a particularly malicious or egregious manner. Though punitive damages are rare in Connecticut, they are sometimes awarded.
Contact an Experienced Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney
Arriving at a dollar amount for a personal injury claim is complex, and insurance companies aim to pay injury victims as little as possible. At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we have a long and successful track record of standing up for victims’ rights. Contact us today to request a consultation.