How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
If someone else injures you, the State of Kentucky gives you an option for recovering financial compensation: a personal injury lawsuit. Filing a personal injury claim against a negligent or reckless party could reimburse you for the economic and noneconomic losses associated with the injury. The amount you could recover from an at-fault party will depend on the specific losses related to your case. The main determining factor will be the extent of your damages.
Economic Damages (Out-of-Pocket Costs)
The courts in Kentucky organize personal injury claim settlements and verdicts into two main categories: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages reimburse a victim for his or her losses, while punitive damages punish a defendant. There are economic and noneconomic compensatory damages available during a personal injury lawsuit. Economic damages refer to everything you spent out of pocket on recovering from an accident.
- Medical expenses
- Future health care costs
- Property damages
- Lost wages
- Legal fees
The value of your personal injury claim in economic damages will depend on how much you and your family had to pay out of pocket on things such as medical costs and property repairs. You may have to prove these losses using receipts, pay stubs and other evidence.
Noneconomic Damages (Pain and Suffering)
Pain and suffering is a common category of damages awarded during a personal injury claim. It describes a victim’s intangible or noneconomic damages rather than out-of-pocket costs. A jury can award pain and suffering damages to its discretion. It may use one of two common calculation methods.
- Multiplier method. The multiplier method takes the total amount of economic damages you suffered and multiplies it by a number the jury picks. The number will usually be between one and five. It will signify how much the injury or accident impacted your life. More serious injuries, such as catastrophic injuries, will generally receive higher multipliers than minor injuries.
- Per diem method. The per diem calculation method multiplies the number of days you will foreseeably have your injury (based on an estimate from a physician) by an amount the jury decides is fair per day. Most juries choose to multiply the number of days by the victim’s average daily wage. The per diem method is less common than the multiplier method but might be more appropriate for a minor injury with an estimated healing date.
Pain and suffering specifically refers to physical pain and emotional suffering; however, it is a broad phrase that can encompass many different types of noneconomic damages. It can refer to lost enjoyment of life, mental anguish, psychological suffering, loss of consortium, humiliation, inconvenience and more.
Some personal injury cases in Kentucky will result in punitive damage awards granted by judges. Punitive damages do not serve to make a victim whole again like compensatory damages do. Instead, their main purpose is to penalize a defendant for particularly negligent or heinous acts. A judge may force a defendant to pay punitive damages as punishment for gross negligence, malicious acts, violent crimes, recklessness or intent to harm. In Kentucky, no cap exists on punitive or compensatory damages.
What Is Your Case Worth?
The values of personal injury cases in Kentucky vary considerably. Some plaintiffs recover $10,000 or less for their damages while others receive multimillion-dollar awards. No two personal injury cases are identical. The best way to get an accurate view of how much your case is worth is to ask an attorney. A personal injury lawyer can accurately estimate your case’s value based on your specific damages. Then, a lawyer can help you fight for maximum financial compensation from one or more defendants. An understanding of what your personal injury case is worth could help you negotiate with an insurance company after an accident in Kentucky.