What Can You Sue for in a Personal Injury Case?

If you’ve suffered an injury due to someone else’s carelessness or intentional wrongdoing, you naturally wonder about your options for relief. You might feel you have legal rights, but it can be difficult to know exactly what they are or how to uphold them.

Specifically, can you sue the person or company responsible for your injuries? The answer is often yes – through a personal injury lawsuit.

Here, we’ll cover the main types of personal injury cases and what you can sue for. By the end, you’ll hopefully understand personal injury cases and when you may have a claim.

Of course, every situation is unique. Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney is always best to get advice on your specific case. A personal injury lawyer can review the details of your accident and injuries and advise you on your legal rights and options. If you have a valid case, a good lawyer will fight to get you the maximum compensation possible.

Car Accidents

One of the most common types of personal injury cases involves car accidents. If you’ve suffered an injury in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you can typically bring a claim against their auto insurance policy.

Examples of driver negligence include:

Poor road conditions or improper signage can sometimes contribute to a crash. When this happens, you may also have a case against the government agency responsible for maintaining the road, the auto manufacturer, or another third party.

After an accident, always call the police and get a copy of the accident report. See a doctor right away, even if your injuries seem minor. Some serious conditions like whiplash or concussions may not be immediately apparent. Keep copies of your medical records and bills.

Never accept a settlement offer from the insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first. Insurance adjusters are not on your side and will try to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible. An attorney can assess your damages’ full extent and negotiate a fair settlement. They can file a lawsuit and argue your case at trial if necessary.

Compensation in car accident cases may include:

Medical Expenses (Past and Future)

You may face significant medical bills after an accident. These can include costs for emergency room visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, prescription medications, medical equipment, and more. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may also require ongoing treatment such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, or long-term care.

In a personal injury case, you can seek compensation for all reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to the accident, including those you have already incurred and those you expect to incur in the future. Your attorney will work with your doctors and medical experts to calculate the full cost of your medical care.

Lost Income

Accidents and injuries can force you to miss work for days, weeks, or even months. If your injuries prevent you from working, you can claim lost income in your personal injury case. Lost income includes what you would have earned from the time of the accident until you can return to work.

To prove lost income, you will need documentation from your employer showing your pay rate and the number of hours or days you missed due to your injuries. If you used vacation days, sick leave, or other paid time off during your recovery, you may also be entitled to compensation for those.

Calculating lost income can be more difficult if you are self-employed or have an irregular income. You may need to provide tax returns, business records, or other documentation to show your average income before the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can gather the necessary evidence and build a strong case for maximum compensation.

Reduced Earning Capacity

Accidents sometimes result in injuries that permanently affect your ability to work. Even if you can return to your job, you may be unable to work the same hours or perform the same duties. This can lead to a reduction in your income over time.

If your earning capacity has been diminished due to your injuries, you can seek compensation for the difference between what you earned before the accident and what you can earn now. This is a claim for reduced earning capacity or loss of future income.

Proving reduced earning capacity often requires testimony from vocational experts and economists. They can assess your skills, education, work history, and physical limitations and estimate your future earning potential. Your attorney may also use your past job performance, industry trends, and other data to build a case for your reduced earning capacity.

Compensation for reduced earning capacity can be substantial, especially if you are young or have many working years ahead of you. An experienced lawyer will fight to get you the maximum compensation for your lost future income.

Pain and Suffering

Accidents can cause significant physical pain and discomfort. Broken bones, soft tissue damage, burns, and other injuries can be excruciating and may take months or years to heal fully. Some accident victims suffer chronic pain that lasts a lifetime.

In addition to physical pain, accidents can also cause significant mental and emotional anguish. You may experience fear, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other psychological symptoms after a traumatic event.

In a personal injury case, you can seek compensation for the physical and mental pain and suffering you have endured due to the accident. Putting a dollar value on pain and suffering requires a lawyer, as it depends on the severity of your injuries, the duration of your recovery, and the impact of the accident on your daily life.

Your attorney may use a multiplier method to calculate your pain and suffering damages. This involves multiplying your economic damages (medical bills and lost income) by a number whose size depends on the severity of your injuries.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is a type of mental anguish that can result from a traumatic accident or injury. It can manifest in many ways, such as anxiety, depression, fear, insomnia, irritability, and more. Emotional distress can be just as debilitating as physical injuries and can significantly impact your quality of life.

In a personal injury case, you can seek compensation for the emotional distress you have suffered due to the accident. To prove emotional distress, you may need testimony from a mental health professional such as a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. They can diagnose your condition and provide an opinion on how the accident has affected your mental well-being.

Keep a journal documenting your emotions, thoughts, and experiences after the accident. Note any changes in your mood, sleep patterns, appetite, or behavior. This can be valuable evidence in your case.

Compensation for emotional distress can be substantial, especially in cases involving severe or catastrophic injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney will work to get you the maximum compensation possible for your emotional pain and suffering.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Accidents and injuries can drastically change your life. You may be unable to participate in hobbies, sports, or other activities you once enjoyed. Your relationships with family and friends may suffer. You may have difficulty performing daily tasks or enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

In a personal injury case, you can seek compensation for this loss of enjoyment of life. This type of damage recognizes that the accident has diminished your quality of life and deprived you of the ability to enjoy your usual activities and pursuits.

To prove loss of enjoyment of life, your attorney may gather evidence such as:

  • Testimony from you, your family, and your friends about how the accident has impacted your life
  • Photos or videos of you participating in activities before the accident that you can no longer enjoy
  • A journal detailing your struggles and limitations since the accident
  • Expert opinions from doctors, therapists, or vocational specialists on how your injuries have affected your quality of life

Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life can be significant, especially in cases of permanent disability or disfigurement. An experienced personal injury lawyer will fight to get you the maximum compensation possible for this important category of damages.

Vehicle Repairs or Replacement

If your vehicle was damaged or totaled in an accident, you can seek compensation for repairs or replacement in your personal injury case. The at-fault driver’s insurance company is typically responsible for these costs.

If your vehicle can be repaired, you are entitled to recover the reasonable cost of restoring it to its pre-accident condition. This may include the cost of parts, labor, and rental car expenses while your vehicle is being fixed.

If your vehicle is declared a total loss (meaning the cost of repairs exceeds its value), you are entitled to recover the fair market value of your vehicle before the accident.

Fair market value is the amount your vehicle would have sold for on the open market before the crash. Factors that may be considered include your vehicle’s make, model, age, condition, mileage, and any special features.

You can also recover other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident, such as towing fees or storage costs. Keep all receipts and invoices related to your vehicle repairs or replacement.

Insurance companies often try to lowball vehicle damage claims. They may argue that your vehicle was worth less than it was or try to cut corners on repairs. An experienced personal injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance company and fight for the full compensation you deserve for your vehicle damages.

Wrongful Death

If your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, certain family members can bring a wrongful death claim.

These cases seek compensation for losses such as:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical bills incurred before death
  • Lost financial support
  • Lost benefits (health insurance, pension, etc.)
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of care, companionship, and guidance
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased before death

Wrongful death cases can arise from many of the same circumstances as personal injury cases. They are complicated cases that require proving the defendant’s negligence caused the death. Strict rules determine who can bring a claim and deadlines for filing.

If you have lost a loved one, an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you understand your rights and options. They can investigate the death, gather evidence, hire expert witnesses, and fight for the justice and compensation your family deserves.

Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer ASAP

You may be entitled to significant compensation if you’ve suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence. However, personal injury cases are complicated. There are strict deadlines, complicated laws, and insurance companies fighting to pay as little as possible.

To protect your rights and improve your chances of a successful outcome, it’s best to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer after an accident or injury as soon as possible. Look for an attorney who has handled cases similar to yours and has a track record of success.

Most reputable personal injury law firms offer free initial consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing upfront and only owe a fee if they recover compensation for you.

Don’t try to go through the legal system alone. Let a skilled personal injury attorney handle the legal heavy lifting while you focus on your physical and emotional recovery.

Call today for a free case review. The sooner you have an advocate on your side, the better you will protect your rights.