In a personal injury case, you can sue for lost income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, property expenses, and certain other damages. Plaintiffs have relatively broad discretion to seek compensation for damages caused by negligence through a lawsuit.

If you hire an Augusta personal injury lawyer, they will explain exactly what damages you can seek compensation for. Each plaintiff in a personal injury case has unique damages, so your attorney will demand compensation for the damages you have suffered.

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Common Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Car accident victims and slip-and-fall accident victims often have different injuries. Those with broken bones may have different symptoms than those with spinal cord injuries. Each victim of negligence has a different story, which is why attorneys build cases around each person they represent.

That said, some types of damages emerge frequently in personal injury cases, and they include:

Medical Expenses

The specific injuries a plaintiff has suffered will dictate their medical needs.

Some common services that plaintiffs can seek compensation for are:

Medical Expenses

  • An ambulance ride
  • Emergency services
  • Surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Medications
  • Imaging services
  • Rehabilitation services

Medical care is specific to patients and their injuries. Your attorney will be in close contact with your doctors and may even hire their medical professionals to assess your medical needs.

Suppose your injuries are disabling or persist without significant improvement in the foreseeable future. In that case, your attorney will diligently work to secure compensation specifically earmarked for covering future medical services.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering are non-economic damages common in personal injury cases.

Such damages can include:

  • Acute physical pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of physical abilities (such as in the case of an amputation injury)
  • Loss of cognitive abilities (this can occur in brain injury cases)
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Lost quality of life

As one common example of pain and suffering, many car accident victims suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Such a condition can cause frequent stress, fear, and the erosion of one’s quality of life. This is just one of many types of pain and suffering your lawyer will consider when leading your case.

Lost Income

Personal injury cases often involve multiple professional damages, which can include:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning power
  • Lost performance bonuses
  • Lost opportunities to earn promotions
  • Lost benefits

In addition, your attorney will assess whether the inability to work has played a role in contributing to your pain and suffering.

Property-Related Expenses

Many personal injury cases, including auto accident cases, involve property-related expenses. Whether you need to repair a vehicle, replace other damaged property, secure temporary transportation, or address any other issues related to property damage, your lawyer will factor this into your settlement demands.

Disability-Related Costs

Disabling injuries typically come with additional expenses.

For instance, a disabled individual may:

  • Have to commission ramps, handrails, and other assistive features for their home
  • Have to move to a facility that can accommodate their disability
  • Purchase a new vehicle that accommodates their disability
  • Lose all earning power
  • Need an in-home caregiver (on either a part- or full-time basis)

The pain and suffering linked to a disabling injury can also be profoundly significant.

The Cost of a Wrongful Death

Many personal injury lawyers handle wrongful death cases.

In addition to medical bills, survivors affected by a wrongful death may:

Elder abuse

  • Lose a spouse’s companionship and other non-economic benefits the decedent provided
  • Lose the decedent’s income, contributions to the household, and other forms of financial support
  • Face the cost of a funeral, burial, or cremation
  • Suffer intense grief and other forms of pain and suffering
  • Need counseling and other types of treatment for their pain and suffering

Experienced personal injury attorneys know the drastic toll a wrongful death or non-fatal injury can take. They will be ready to assess your damages and determine a fair financial value for your case.

Types of Events That May Warrant a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Every day, there are countless situations where someone’s negligence causes one or more people to suffer harm.

For this reason, personal injury lawyers handle many case types, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Dog bites (and other animal attacks)
  • Slip and falls
  • Trip and falls
  • Elder abuse
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective product cases

If an attorney can prove that someone’s negligence or intentional actions caused you to suffer harm, our system of justice can award you compensation.

The Two Primary Circumstances That Lead to Personal Injury Cases

Case types vary, but most plaintiffs who hire a personal injury lawyer have something in common.

These parties have either:

  1. Suffered an injury, or:
  2. Lost a loved one

When these outcomes occur because of negligence, those affected can hire a personal injury lawyer to demand a fair financial recovery from liable parties.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Lead My Personal Injury Case?

To be clear, hiring a personal injury attorney is a decision you must make. Some people choose not to hire a lawyer, hoping they have the energy, knowledge, and time to secure a fair financial recovery for their damages.

However, many victims of negligence are not certain that this is the case, so they turn to a lawyer because:

  • Lawyers have the necessary knowledge and training: When you hire a personal injury attorney, you should know about their background and experience. If your attorney has many years of service and a proven record of winning cases, you know they (at least on paper) can represent you effectively.
  • Lawyers have long-term experience (something you can’t buy): Even if you are a smart, motivated, quick learner, you may lack relevant experience. An attorney with years of handling personal injury cases has real-world experience that is difficult to value.
  • Law firms pay the cost of personal injury cases: An attorney can be a source of financial relief, as your law firm will pay the upfront cost of your case. Rather than having to build a case out of your pocket, the law firm will pay case-related expenses for you.
  • A lawyer will allow you to better focus on recovery: A personal injury lawyer leading your case will give you the necessary time to rest and heal. You will not have to decide whether to work on your case or prioritize your recovery.

Your personal injury lawyer will fight for your best interests while managing every detail of your claim or lawsuit. Expressing how invaluable this is in the aftermath of a serious injury or wrongful death can be challenging.

How Much Does a Lawyer Charge?

Personal injury lawyers’ fee structures eliminate the risk from the client’s perspective. Most personal injury attorneys use contingency fees.

When this is the case, then the client:

  • Does not pay the law firm out of their pocket
  • Agrees to give the law firm a percentage of any settlement or judgement their lawyer obtains
  • Let the law firm pay the upfront cost of the case
  • Does not pay for services unless the law firm succeeds

This fee structure makes sense because personal injury cases often involve clients in great financial distress. A law firm shares its resources with the client, and the client agrees to pay the firm fairly for their services (as part of the financial recovery).

How Personal Injury Lawyers Seek Compensation in Personal Injury Cases

Your attorney will be responsible for every case-related responsibility, including:

Protecting You

A lawyer’s first responsibility is to protect their client, and they may do so by:

  • Handling all case-related communications
  • Laying out exactly what you should do as your case progresses
  • Answering any questions you have during your case
  • Advising you about the fairness of any settlement offers you receive

Consider a personal injury lawyer a strong line of defense protecting your privacy and your case.

Forming a Personalized Case Strategy

Your attorney will have a strategy for securing the compensation you deserve.

This strategy may involve either:

  • An insurance claim
  • A lawsuit

Many lawyers have a transition plan. If negotiations with insurers do not produce a fair settlement offer, they can transition the case from an insurance claim into a lawsuit.

Securing All Relevant Evidence

Your lawyer will obtain any evidence that fits into your case. The cause of your injury (or a loved one’s wrongful death) will dictate the types of evidence your lawyer obtains.

For instance, when leading a car accident case, a personal injury lawyer may obtain:

  • Video footage of another motorist striking your vehicle
  • Eyewitness testimony detailing the accident
  • The police report for the accident
  • A skilled reconstructionist of the accident (this can be physical or digital, depending on the case and circumstances)

These are just a few examples of evidence that can help win a personal injury case. Your attorney and their team will quickly secure all evidence that works in your case’s favor.

Documenting Your Damages

Damages are the greatest point of contention in personal injury cases. Your attorney will present settlement demands inspired by your damages. Liable parties may argue that your damages are not worth what your lawyer claims.

Documenting Your Damages

Therefore, your attorney will obtain all available proof of your damages, which may include:

  • Medical images of injuries (such as X-rays)
  • A doctor’s diagnosis of your injuries
  • Medical bills
  • Employment records that help prove lost income
  • Mental health professionals diagnose your pain and suffering

In cases where property damage occurs, attorneys secure invoices for repairing or replacing the damaged property. The more documentation your attorney can bring to settlement negotiations, the stronger your case may be.

Calculating the Cost of Current and Future Damages

Your attorney will:

  • Add up the cost of your current economic damages
  • Keep track of new economic damages as they occur
  • Anticipate any future economic damages you may incur before resolving your case
  • Calculate all non-economic damages, both present and future

Law firms have multiple checks and balances to ensure each case value is precise and accurate.

Securing a Settlement

Personal injury lawyers prepare for settlement negotiations by organizing evidence of negligence and documentation of the client’s damages. Your attorney may also double-check their calculations to ensure they are accurate and up to date.

Your attorney will then:

  • Contact liable parties (this often includes an insurer) to arrange negotiation talks
  • Organize all case materials that will be relevant to settlement negotiations
  • Complete an initial round of negotiations
  • Complete additional rounds of negotiations (if necessary)

Your lawyer will inform you when a settlement offer comes in. They will review the offer with you, assisting in the determination of whether to accept or reject it.

Completing a Trial, if Necessary

Personal injury lawyers often present convincing evidence of negligence and proof of a client’s damages. Yet, liable parties do not always respond with a fair settlement offer.

When settlement discussions do not produce fair compensation for clients, their attorney can file a lawsuit and go to trial, if necessary.

Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

Most personal injury cases don’t go to trial—they settle. If you go solely off statistics, the odds are that your case will settle, too.

However, in deciding whether your case goes to trial, your lawyer will:

  • Learn everything about the nature of your injuries, including whether they are disabling
  • Determine the exact cost of your economic and non-economic damages
  • Exhaust every opportunity for liable parties to offer a fair settlement
  • Weigh the pros and cons of going to trial

If your case goes to trial, a jury will decide whether you will receive compensation for your damages (and how much compensation you will receive). Therefore, your lawyer will evaluate the strength of your case before encouraging you to pursue a trial (with them leading the case).

Jacque Hawk, Attorney in Augusta
Jacque Hawk, Augusta Personal Injury Lawyer

Find a Law Firm with a Reputation You Can Rely On

Do not delay in securing the services of your personal injury lawyer. Your case may be subject to fixed, high-stakes deadlines that play a critical role in determining your ability to pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Take swift action to protect your legal rights and give your lawyer ample time to navigate the intricacies of your case, thereby maximizing the potential for a favorable outcome.