For injuries that happen to you or a loved one due to the negligent acts of someone else, you will need to seek compensation. A personal injury claim can help with that, though it doesn’t always involve a lawsuit or taking things before the courts.
Some personal injury claims are minor, while others are major. Knowing the difference between them can help you decide if you need representation from an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you get the fair amount of compensation.
Regardless of whether or not an injury is considered major or minor, you will wind up losing money from your pocket, paying medical bills and missing work. Your personal injury claim can help you recover those losses and others to prevent you from going into debt over the negligent actions of another person.
What Does It Mean to File a Personal Injury Claim?
When you are injured because of a negligent act by another person, you can file a personal injury claim. This allows you to recover the compensation you need for your injuries.
This may bring to mind a lawsuit with a judge presiding over a courtroom; however, most personal injury cases are settled out of court. There are many different incidents that can fall under the large umbrella of personal injury cases. These include car accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, and premises liability accidents, to name a few.
Some of these will be minor, while others will be major. While you may be tempted to try to handle things yourself with a minor personal injury claim, it can easily spiral out of control. Having an experienced attorney in these matters will make all the difference.
Minor vs. Major Personal Injury Claims
In the case of minor personal injury claims, these will include soft tissue injuries. Injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments fall into this category. Meanwhile, major personal injury claims involve permanent injury, loss of bodily function, dismemberment, or even death.
Whether your injury is considered major or minor, you should not be forced to absorb the costs associated with it if it was not your fault. Additionally, many people that are injured by an at-fault party may not realize the full impact of their injuries. This is common after car accidents when victims refuse medical treatment. Often, the injuries sustained present themselves after the fact.
A prime example of this is whiplash from a car accident. The symptoms do not always show up immediately, but in the following days, you may experience neck pain, stiffness, headaches, back pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. If you refuse treatment, it will be harder to prove you sustained an injury. That is why you should never refuse medical treatment after an accident.
Whiplash is an interesting injury because it can be minor or major depending on the severity of the case. In severe cases, it can lead to prolonged partial disability. Other times, it will be minor, and the symptoms will resolve soon after.
Either way, whiplash and other seemingly minor personal injury claims can easily turn into a major problem. You might not receive compensation for an injury like this or another soft tissue injury if you do not have the medical bills that can prove your injury.
Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Claims
For major or minor personal injury claims, the amount of compensation will be calculated with a formula that factors in the unique aspects of your case. This will determine the dollar amount for your injuries and other losses that you have endured.
Compensatory damages can be awarded in the following categories for personal injury claims, whether they are major or minor.
All of the costs associated with your injury care can be reimbursed. This will also include any treatment you may be required to have in the future due to your personal injury.
In the case of major personal injury claims, severe accidents may render you unable to work. You would then be entitled to claim compensation for your loss of income. This may also include your future income loss, especially if you lose your earning capacity because of the accident.
In auto accidents, property damage will often be part of a personal injury claim. Damage to your vehicle, your clothing, or any other items of value caused by the accident may be covered as long as it can be proven it was caused by the accident.
Pain and Suffering
While this portion of compensatory damages is non-economic, it is still an important consideration in your personal injury claim. It may also include any ongoing pain in the future that was sustained from your injuries.
Whether major or minor, emotional distress can take its toll after any accident. You may no longer be able to enjoy hobbies that you used to, have difficulty sleeping, or experience severe anxiety. You can also add these things to your personal injury claim because they interfere with your ability to enjoy the quality of life you once had.
Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Since a personal injury lawyer is well-versed in the law, you should take advantage of a free initial consultation to discuss your personal injury case. As mentioned earlier, minor injuries can eventually become major.
All too often, personal injury attorneys see victims who settle for an amount that does not fully cover their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, or property damage. Never accept a settlement without knowing the extent of your injuries and the amount of money it will cost you in total. Following this advice will prepare you for any minor or major personal injury claim you may need to make for yourself or a loved one.