If you are hurt in an accident, you are generally entitled to compensation for your injuries and other related costs. The exact types of compensation that you may be entitled to depend on the facts of the case as well as whether you were hurt at work or not. The amount of money that you may be entitled to may also depend on state law, the facts in the case and other factors unique to your specific accident case.
You Will Likely Be Paid for Medical Bills Incurred
In an accident resulting in injuries, you will likely go to the hospital or see a doctor. At the very least, you can make a claim for any money paid out of pocket to get the treatment that you need. This is generally true regardless of how much or how little care that you receive.
In addition to money for medical bills that you have already incurred, you may be entitled to compensation for future medical bills. For instance, if you need surgery to fix your neck after experiencing whiplash in an accident, the person who hurt you could be liable for that.
You May Be Paid for Lost Wages and Future Earnings
In a typical Arizona accident case, you are entitled to pursue any past, present or future lost wages because of your injuries. This may include the value of any vacation time or sick days that had to be used while recovering. It may also include any time off taken after a case is settled to go to physical therapy, to get surgery or simply because you are too weak or sore to come to work on a given day.
In the event that you can’t go back to work, you are also entitled to ask for lost future earnings. It may also be possible to ask for lost earnings if you are able to return to work but with a diminished earning capacity. When determining an award for lost future earnings, the jury will look at your current position, the likelihood that you could have found work in a higher paying field as well as your chances of getting promoted. Inflation may also be taken into consideration when determining your lost earnings.
Has the Quality of Your Life Changed?
It may be possible for a jury to provide compensation to those who have a diminished quality of life after your accident. For example, if you don’t have the same type of relationship with your spouse or children, that may be considered a lower quality of life.
If you can’t enjoy the same hobbies or activities after an accident that you enjoyed before the accident, this would also constitute a lower quality of life. Compensation may also be awarded to those who suffer from PTSD or mental distress because of the negligent actions of another party.
Where Did the Injury Occur?
If the injury occurred at work, you may not be entitled to file a personal injury claim. Instead, you would need to file a workers’ compensation claim. The only exception to the rule is if the injury occurred because of the blatant negligence of an employer. If you were hurt because of a defective product while at work, that may also qualify as a personal injury case as opposed to a workers’ compensation case.
How Is the Amount of an Award Determined?
In Arizona, accident cases are based on a tort liability system. What this means is that a plaintiff can ask for a certain amount of money for each claim that he or she makes. The members of the jury will then review the case to determine if that number is fair based on the evidence it has seen.
A jury is generally free to either agree with the amount that a plaintiff asks for, lower the amount or increase it as it sees fit. As with any other personal injury case, the final award amount may be subject to appeal or modifications by a judge. Either side may appeal a verdict once the case has concluded.
If you are injured in an accident, you should contact an attorney immediately. He or she will be able to help you file a lawsuit before your statute of limitations runs out. He or she may also be able to help you during settlement talks or in court if a formal trial is necessary to get maximum compensation. Although your attorney may provide advice, you are the one who decides whether to settle, take a case to trial or take any other steps during the legal process.