Factors that Impact Damages in a Personal Injury Case

Determining Personal Injury Settlements

Personal injury cases are often complex and stressful. While every case is unique, there are some commonalities regarding factors that the courts look at when assessing appropriate damages and compensation. Knowing what factors impact damages can help injured parties understand the potential outcomes for their case and can help them make important legal decisions with more confidence.

When determining compensation amounts for a personal injury settlement, there are two main categories of damages:

  • Economic damages
  • Non-economic damages

Economic damages in personal injury law refer to financial losses that directly result from an injury, including medical costs, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages refer to more abstract losses such as physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.

In this blog post, we'll explore some of the different circumstances that can impact how damages are calculated in a personal injury case.

The Severity of the Injury

The severity of an injury is one of the most important factors in determining damages. The more serious your injuries are, the more medical bills and expenses you will likely have. Severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment, hospitalization, or long-term care may result in higher damages.

Long-Term Effects of the Injury

Long-term effects of an injury can also impact damages. Future medical bills, loss of earning capacity, and reduced quality of life may all be factored into calculating damages. In some cases, the long-term effects of an injury may result in greater damages than immediate medical expenses.

Age and Occupation of the Victim

The age and occupation of the victim can also impact damages. In cases where the loss of income or earning capacity is calculated, younger victims may recover more damages due to their longer life expectancy and, therefore, a more significant portion of their career trajectory being impacted by their injuries.

The victim’s occupation may also impact their earning capacity and future job prospects. For example, a professional athlete who is injured may be able to recover greater damages than someone in a less lucrative field.

Determining potential loss of future earnings is a complicated matter, and you should consult with your attorney on how best to approach these calculations in context with your personal situation.

Amount of Insurance Coverage Available

The amount of insurance coverage available can also impact damages in a personal injury case. Insurance policies may have limits on the amount of damages that can be recovered, and multiple insurance policies may be available in some cases. It's important to carefully review insurance policies to determine the potential limits on damages.

It's important to note that you are not guaranteed a maximum payout just because you have a certain level of insurance coverage. With this in mind, you are always encouraged to speak with a personal injury attorney about your options and whether having legal counsel negotiate with your insurance company is a good idea for your situation.

Comparative Negligence of the Victim

The victim’s comparative negligence can impact damages in a personal injury case. If the victim is found to be partially at fault for the accident, damages may be reduced. Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence system, which means that damages are apportioned based on each party's percentage of fault. For example, if the victim is found to be 30% at fault for the accident, the compensation they are awarded may be reduced by 30%.

Additionally, in Pennsylvania, to collect compensation, the plaintiff must not bear more than 50% of the liability for the accident. This is sometimes referred to as the 51% rule. You can read more about this rule in our blog here.

Other Relevant Information

In addition to these factors, there are a few other things injured parties should keep in mind. For example, it's important to avoid common mistakes such as giving recorded statements without legal counsel or accepting a settlement offer before fully understanding the extent of your injuries. Seeking legal counsel can also help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected.

Understanding the different factors that impact damages in a personal injury case is crucial. If you've been injured due to the negligence of others, contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your legal options. The knowledgeable attorneys at Golomb Legalhave years of experience representing clients in personal injury cases and can help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case.

Contact our Philadelphia-based law firm online to schedule a consultation.