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What are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

What are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

[Video] Understanding the Complexity of a Personal Injury Case: Part 3

[Transcript] When you’ve been seriously injured, you’re entering the complex world of personal injury law. A lot of people don’t understand how complex the personal injury practice area can be, but that’s why it’s so important for you to have a dedicated team of experienced personal injury trial attorneys on your side to fight for you, to fight to get you back on your financial feet and fight to get your normal back.

Here at Bennett, Boehning, and Clary, we offer free, absolutely no-cost consultations for people to come in and talk about their personal injury case. And a lot of those cases, I go through and talk about how complex this area can be, but try to simplify it for our clients so they understand what they’re going to have to be doing and what they’re going to be going through to try and get compensated for their injuries that they’ve received.

When we do that, we talk about the three most basic building blocks of a personal injury case: liability, causation, and damages. In the video here today. I want to talk about damages in a little bit more detail. Obviously, a lot of people understand that they’ve been injured and so they have damages to recover but don’t really understand the most basic elements of damages that we might be able to recover for them, to compensate them.

So I’m going to talk about the three most basic areas that we see people have in personal injury cases. That’d be medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In medical expenses, you would think it’d be pretty easy. Here’s the medical bill I got that’s my expense, but it’s not really that easy.

At least not in Indiana. In Indiana, there are two different numbers that we can consider for medical expenses to claim in a personal injury case. The first of which is the gross amount of total medical bills that you have. That’s the number that you would see at the very top of your medical bill, the total charge by whoever the provider was the hospital, the ER, physician, the ambulance.

But if you notice medical bills can be kind of complicated. You start seeing a bunch of deductions that take place as farther you go down that bill. Those contractual write-offs that happen because you have medical insurance or Medicaid or Medicare are known as deductions or, or contractual write-offs. That’s money that’s just written off the top that essentially no one has paid in your case. Then you see the amount that your insurance has paid and that maybe you’ve had to pay out of pocket. So we have the gross amount at the top and what we call the Stanley Walker number at the bottom. That’s that reduced amount after those contractual, write-offs by your insurance company have taken. It’s called the Stanley Walker number because of a Supreme Court case here in Indiana that said that the defense in personal injury cases can enter this lower, sometimes 50% discounted rate into your case for your reasonable amount of medical expenses that you can recover.

So the defense is always going to argue that lower amount of money. We’re always going to argue typically that higher gross amount of money, but that’s where the contention can be in medical bills and why it’s not quite as straightforward as, Hey, here’s what I was charged for you to recover in your personal injury case.

The second area of damages I want to talk about are the loss of wages component. Pretty clear if you were injured and because of your injuries, you weren’t at work and you didn’t get paid for those, we look to see how we compute that. If you were hourly it’s we added up as to how many hours you missed based on your rate.

If you are salaried, and maybe we’re still getting paid during that time, but you had to take sick or vacation days, you’ve lost those sick or vacation days that would otherwise have gone to something else. And we can claim lost wages to cover those days there as well. So lost wages are a little bit easier to understand but can be sometimes complicated to calculate in a personal injury case.

And then finally we get to the third and the last and most common types of damages that we have in a personal injury case that I’m going to talk about today, and that’s this kind of nebulous term of pain and suffering. I mean, obviously when you’ve been injured, especially if you’ve been seriously injured, there’s been an impact on your life.

You’ve had to experience pain, you might be experiencing temporary or may be permanent disability. All of those things can go into this pain and suffering realm of damages that we have to deal with. However, there is no calculation. There is no formula. A judge is going to give a six-person jury in a personal injury trial to say, this is exactly how you go through and compute pain and suffering.

What the jury to hear is, from you, a description of what that felt like, what you’ve gone through, how it’s impacted your life, and we need to formulate the best argument we can to talk to the jury about how to put a value on what can be the most significant portion of the impact to your life that you’re looking to recover in a personal injury case.

Here at Bennett, Boehning, and Clary, like I said, we have an absolutely no cost, no fee consultation for you to come in and for us to go over the facts of your case and to talk to you about how good of a case you have to move forward and what we’re going to do to try to make sure that you’re compensated for the injuries that you have sustained. Here at Bennett, Boehning, and Clary, we have a team of dedicated and experienced personal injury trial attorneys that are ready to stand by and fight for you to get you back on your financial feet, to get you back to your normal.

Because here at BB&C, we’re here for you and we’re here for life, whatever it might bring.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.

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