When an individual is injured in a motor vehicle accident, there are several different components that go into determining what type of compensation the injured victim is entitled to. The most common types of recovery that an individual is entitled to for injuries resulting from a car accident are as follows: (1) pain and suffering; (2) future pain and suffering; (3) mental and emotional distress; (4) medical bills; (5) future medical treatment; (6) diminished capacity to enjoy life; (7) loss of income; and (8) lost earning capacity.
Low Speed Vehicle Accident
All these types of recovery are not available in every vehicle accident. If an individual is involved in a rear-end accident causing neck and back pain that is treatable through a regular course of chiropractic treatment or through other medical care, the amount of recovery is limited. In this type of vehicle accident, the individual is only going to recover his or her medical bills and an amount for pain and suffering.
It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are very sophisticated when it comes to evaluating personal injury car accidents. In addition, jury can be very suspect when the types of injury claimed are soft tissue injuries, i.e. neck pain and/or back pain. As a result, slow impact accidents will typically not command a high settlement value because insurance companies know that they can make strong arguments to a jury that the injuries are being fabricated. In the case of just neck and back pain, it is difficult to show that an individual suffered a serious injury that is worth a large amount of compensation.
As a result of insurance companies looking at the totality of the circumstances surrounding an accident, if there is minimal damage to the vehicle this will suggest that it was a low-speed impact. Once a determination has been made that the impact occurred at a low speed, the insurance company will take an aggressive stance and attempt to limit your recovery. If you suffered a real injury even in a low-speed impact, it is important to retain an attorney because the insurance company may very well deny your claim.
Serious Vehicle Accidents
In serious vehicle accidents, the value of the case also varies considerably. Depending on the extent of the injuries, an individual may be entitled to compensation for all the components listed above.
In a car accident wherein the individual suffered broken bones and required extensive hospital treatment, the amount of compensation will be considerably higher than someone who only suffered a sore neck and/or back. For purposes of this article, it is not possible to provide estimates, however, the higher the medical expenses become it is perceived that the injuries are serious. With that being said, under certain circumstances, the insurance company will argue that the individual received unnecessary treatments that unnecessarily drove up the costs of the individual’s medical bills.
Nevertheless, for serious injuries resulting from a car accident, the individual will be entitled to pain and suffering, and medical expenses. If the individual is able to prove that he or she was required to miss work due to the severity of the injuries, the individual would be entitled to loss of earnings. The individual would be entitled to future loss of earnings if s/he was terminated due to being unable to work while recovering from his or her injuries. In addition, if the injuries are permanent in nature and thereby prevent the individual from performing similar job duties at a comparable rate of pay, the individual would be entitled to compensation equalling the amount of future income s/he will lose as a result of not being able to earn the same amount of income as prior to the accident.
Mental and emotional distress compensation is typically awarded in serious injury cases. In order to establish compensable mental and emotional injuries, the injured individual should have been treated by a doctor to document the mental and emotional distress s/he has gone through as a result of his or her injuries.
Diminished capacity to enjoy life is awarded in only serious accidents. This is the situation where the injury permanently capacitates the individual to the extent that their activities of daily living, i.e. bathing, dressing, etc., are affected as a result of the accident. Accordingly, the individual’s capacity to enjoy life has been lessened.
These are all factors that are taken into account when determining the value of a personal injury case. Obviously, the more serious the car accident the likelihood the of compensation will be greater. However, the seriousness of the car accident is not the deciding factor. The medical records which document an individual’s injury play a significant role in determining proper compensation.
If you have been injured in an accident, please contact an attorney at The Rinka Law Firm, at 310-556-9653.