Most non-lawyers settle their personal injury claims for far less than they are worth. Of course, every case is different, and the value of your claim will depend on the specifics in your case. If you’ve been injured, a Billings personal injury lawyer will be able to provide you an estimate of how much compensation you are entitled to.
What Are Damages?
“Damages” is the legal terminology for the compensation you are awarded in a personal injury claim. Generally speaking, there are two types of damages:
- Compensatory damages: damages that are awarded to compensate you for your losses. These include both economic damages (such as your medical bills or lost income) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
- Punitive damages: damages that are awarded in order to punish the defendant or dissuade others from similar behavior.
Successful personal injury cases result in an award of compensatory damages. Punitive damages in personal injury cases are rare and are imposed in only the most egregious cases. An experienced Billings personal injury attorney will be able to review your case and determine which damages you may be entitled to.
The Components of Your Personal Injury Claim
As a general rule, the law entitles you to be “made whole” if you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. This means that you are entitled to compensation that includes everything you have lost compared to what you had before the injury. As a result, you can seek damages for the following losses:
- Your medical bills
- Your lost income
- Any other financial losses or expenses caused by your car accident
- Your pain and suffering
It is very important that you document your losses caused by your accident. This means keeping meticulous records and copies of all medical bills and other expenses. Your receipts, bills, and other documents will eventually be submitted as evidence in order to support your claim.
Pain and Suffering in Your Car Accident Case
Depending on the severity of your injuries after a car accident, pain and suffering could represent a significant portion of your claim. Unlike compensation for your medical bills or lost wages, however, the appropriate compensation for your pain and suffering is much more difficult to calculate. This is because there is no bill or receipt – it is purely subjective. That said, the fact that pain and suffering are subjective does not mean that it is any less real.
Some states have imposed limits or “caps” on the amount that can be awarded for pain and suffering in response to what some have considered to be excessive awards for damages. Montana does not limit damages for pain and suffering, except in medical malpractice, where you will be limited to $250,000.
An experienced Billings personal injury attorney will be able to estimate your damages for pain and suffering based on the following factors:
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether your injuries will result in a permanent disability
- Whether your injuries affect your ability to sleep or carry out other daily living activities
- Whether your injuries limit your ability to take care of your family
Injured? Contact Billings Personal Injury Attorney Jim Ragain for Help
The insurance company wants to settle your claim for as little as possible. Before you accept their offer, call Billings personal injury attorney Jim Ragain. He will review your case, explain your options, and give you a fair estimate of what your case may be worth. Contact us at 406-651-8888 to schedule your free consultation today.