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How Are Damages and Compensation Determined in a Personal Injury Case?

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2020 | Personal Injury

Damages awarded in a personal injury case can vary significantly in severity and worth. Insurance adjusters and legal representation consider many factors before determining the total compensation awarded to the injured party.

Special Damages Vs. General Damages

Special damages and general damages are the two main monetary damages awarded in personal injury cases.

  • Special damages cover the out-of-pocket costs a victim (plaintiff) paid as a result of the injury, such as lost wages and property repair fees. Medical costs are also special damages and are almost always involved in personal injury claims, whether or not they’re covered by insurance.
  • General damages cover what is commonly known as “pain and suffering.” This can include the actual pain a plaintiff experienced during the accident, any physical and psychological issues post-accident, and their inability to enjoy their normal life and activities as a direct result of the accident.

Punitive Damages

In cases where the defendant demonstrated a serious lack of care or concern that resulted in the plaintiff’s injury, punitive damages may be included to specifically punish the defendant’s behavior. In Louisiana, punitive damages are rare and only apply to a handful of circumstances.

How Damages Are Calculated

The formula used to determine damages awarded to the plaintiff usually varies by the adjuster. Some adjusters will calculate the emotional cost of the accident by multiplying the cost of the medical damages between 1.5 and five. The more significant the plaintiff’s injuries and treatment, the higher this number. Additional damages and other related costs are factored in, including:

  • Loss of wages and/or paid time off
  • Medical costs
  • Property damage

These costs are totaled and presented as the total possible compensation awarded to the plaintiff.

Even when fully compensated for a personal injury claim, these injuries can still cause lasting physical and emotional distress. The attorneys at Smith Shanklin Sosa know how sensitive personal injury cases can be; we urge clients throughout the greater Baton Rouge area to seek legal advice within one year of their accident to remain within Louisiana’s statute of limitations. Contact us for a free consultation today.