It is hard to know what to expect when you begin a personal injury case in Alabama. You know that you deserve compensation—why should someone else’s negligence leave you with a stack of unpaid medical bills? But knowing what you are entitled to and actually getting a fair settlement are tough tasks.
That is why it is important to work with an attorney you can trust. An experienced and trustworthy attorney will explain different types of compensation, explore your options with you, and help you know how much you might get from a settlement. If you need help with your personal injury case, we are here to help. Call the team at Mann & Potter at 205-627-3186 to take the first step.
Economic damages are those related to your actual financial losses after an accident. These are generally easy to calculate and prove. For example, you know how much your medical bills are if you keep track of co-pay receipts, incoming bills, and medication co-pay receipts. Similarly, you can easily determine how much income you have lost because of an accident.
Several types of compensation fall under the category of “economic damages,” including:
- Medical expenses, including co-pays, ambulance fees, surgical expenses, and medical equipment
- Lost income
- Property damage, including damage to your car, the value of your car if it is totaled, and the cost of anything destroyed in the accident
Economic damages are easy to quantify and prove with paperwork, bills, and receipts.
The other main type of compensation you may be entitled to after an accident is non-economic. Non-economic damages aim to pay you for the losses you have experienced that cannot be tied directly to a specific dollar amount. However, because these are still considered losses, the court system does allow you to be made whole through non-economic damages. This category includes items like:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disability and/or disfigurement
- Loss of companionship
As you can see, these types of compensation are much more subjective than non-economic damages. It is easy to put a number on the value of a lost day of work; it’s much harder to put a number on the pain you’ve suffered after an accident. Generally, the amount of non-economic compensation you may be able to get is tied directly to the severity of your injuries and the amount of economic compensation you are entitled to. The longer your injuries are likely to last and the more they impact your ability to engage in everyday life, the more non-economic damages you may receive.
Calculating Damages for Your Accident
What does this mean as you try to figure out how much your personal injury claim is worth? First, know that you should speak about this with an attorney. While you may be able to figure out a ballpark number for your economic damages, it’s likely that you are forgetting some of the expenses you’ve incurred because of the accident. On the flip side, people are also very likely to overestimate the value of their pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other non-economic losses.
You don’t want to simply choose the attorney who throws out the biggest number, especially if they do so without actually listening to the details of your case. You want to choose an attorney who listens and asks questions before telling you how much your case may be worth. Anyone can say a big number, but it does not mean that’s what they can actually deliver.
One factor to think about as you calculate damages is your role in the accident. Alabama is one of the only states with a contributory negligence statute. Under this statute, victims of an accident cannot recover compensation with a personal injury lawsuit if they were at all liable. Most personal injury cases settle outside of court, so it is unlikely you’ll see this play out in the courtroom. However, the fact that Alabama has this statute can affect the settlement offers you receive.
How We Can Help After Your Accident
There is a lot to do after an accident, and we know it can be overwhelming. That is why we are committed to helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve. If you have been harmed by someone else’s negligence, don’t take on the insurance company alone. Let us help. Call Mann & Potter at 205-627-3186 or contact us online.