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The Basics of Personal Injury Claims: Damages

By Marshall W. Orsini, attorney at Carr & Wright, PLC

After determining that another party is at least in part negligent in causing your accident, most people would want to know what their accident is worth. This is understandably a difficult question to answer, as there are a number of factors that go into this, and ultimately no two injuries are the same. If a party is liable for causing your injuries, the law requires that it "make you whole" - essentially this means that you are put into the same position as you were before the accident.

The law allows for recovery of damages in a number of different ways, but there are two basic types of damages: Special and General. Special Damages seem easy enough to calculate, as these are typically economic damages - medical expenses, lost wages, lost property, or loss of earning capacity. But rest assured, the insurance companies representing the business owners will still do everything it can to limit the amount you actually recover. They may question whether or not certain medical procedures were necessary, or whether or not you needed to miss that many days of work. Think about that: you suffer a painful injury that was caused by the negligence of a business, just to have an insurance adjuster in some remote office question the surgery you needed, or the time off of work that you took.

General Damages are non-economic damages, what most people think of as "pain and suffering." These are probably the most difficult to calculate - after all, it's not easy to put a dollar amount on the pain and suffering you experienced. Ultimately, in determining a fair pain and suffering figure, we look at a number of factors, such as the nature of your injury, the impact it has had on your day-to-day life, your recovery and long-term prognosis, and even whether or not you had any similar injuries prior to this one. It's important to remember that no two injuries are alike. And yet, insurance companies will often try to treat certain personal injury claims the same way. A trip and fall causing a sprained wrist is worth X to Y, or a slip and fall with an injured lower back is worth Y to Z.

I know this because for years I worked in the insurance industry as a litigation consultant. I trained insurance adjusters right here in Iowa. I attended mediations and trials across the country, negotiating claims valued at $20,000 to $2 million. Because I know how insurance companies think (and how they value their claims), I'm in a unique position to help get you every dollar you deserve. If you've been hurt in an accident, please call me at 515-875-4868, or email me at [email protected], to schedule a free consultation. I want to make sure you're recovering everything you deserve.

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