This is an article contributed to our website by Zooomr, a premier auto leasing startup based out of NYC. One of the most common questions a client will ask their personal injury attorney is about the amount of money they will receive for their compensation. It is a valid question and should be asked. However, most people are not real happy with the answer.
The truth is, your attorney may only have an estimated guess based on some of the information you provided during your initial interview. They cannot, and should not, give you an absolute figure because there are never any guarantees. They can give you an estimate based on similar cases they have had in the past, but it will not be an absolute figure.
How Compensation Is Determined
The first thing that all clients must understand is that their case, their losses, and their injuries are all very unique and personal. Every person will experience an injury in their own way. Every person will recover differently from those injuries, and every person will also suffer different losses because of those injuries.
Because of this, compensation is never a blanket amount. Compensation is unique to each case and based on the facts surrounding that case. This is why it is very hard for your attorney to provide you with an exact amount you will receive for your losses.
What Is Considered When Determining Compensation?
The circumstances surrounding an injury may affect the way compensation is determined. For instance, if you are found partially responsible for a car accident your compensation may be adjusted to account for your actions in the event. Or, if your case is work related you may be entitled to additional benefits not offered in a slip and fall event. However, most compensation claims, regardless of the type of accident often seek the following types of compensation:
• Current Medical Care – This includes all the medical care necessary for you to make a recovery from your injuries.
• Future Medical Care – If you will be required to have ongoing treatments for your injuries, need life time care, or will require additional surgeries in the future, your attorney will seek compensation for these issues to ensure that your medical needs are met.
• Current Loss of Income – Any lost income you have suffered from missing work because of the injuries and medical care will be included in this part of the compensation package.
• Future Loss of Income – Any anticipated lost wages from not being able to return to work, having to accept a part time or lesser paying position, or future time off for recovery is included.
• Current and Future Lost Benefits – If you receive any type of benefits from your employer such as matched contributions to your retirement account, paid medical benefits, paid time off, or similar benefits that you are missing because you cannot attend work, your attorney will include these losses.
• Cost of Services – If your injuries have required you to pay for specific services, such as lawn care or house cleaning because you cannot perform these tasks from your injury, your attorney will seek compensation for these costs. If you will require these services in the future, your attorney will adjust for this also.
• Loss of Consortium – This is often combined with loss of enjoyment, companionship or similarly worded terms. What this means is that you have suffered in a way that has kept you from enjoying your life as you did before the accident with your spouse or partner.
• Personal Property Losses – This would include repairing or replacing personal property that was damaged during the accident.
There may also be additional forms of compensation that you are entitled to under the terms of the insurance policy that is covering the accident or state law. Your attorney will explain to you the exact benefits that you can receive based specifically on your accident and injuries.
Compensation And Attorney Fees
Attorney fees and costs may not be covered in your compensation. This will depend on the type of accident you were involved in, the state laws that apply to your case and the terms of the insurance policy. Your attorney will inform you if they will seek attorney costs as part of your compensation package.
It is important to remember that your attorney fees and legal costs will come from your final compensation. Once you have come to an agreement with the insurance company over the final amount of compensation, your attorney will be issued a check in both the law firm and your name. Your attorney will have you endorse this check when it arrives.
Your attorney will then make sure that all of your bills from the case are paid. This includes all legal costs, medical costs and attorney fees. Once these bills have been paid in full, the law firm will issue you a check for the remaining balance of your settlement. At that time they will also provide you with a full accounting of what bills were paid from your settlment so that you know you are free and clear from any further obligations surrounding this case and your prior medical care.