You have just been injured as a result of a car accident, a slip and fall or as a result of a medical mishap. One of the first questions that you are probably asking yourself is what is my injury worth and should I pursue compensation through the Courts. One thing is certain, the Courts cannot repair your injuries but they can provide an appropriate level of compensation. It is obviously important to know what your injuries are potentially worth and whether it is worthwhile to pursue a claim through the Courts. Remember we are not just talking about any money you might have to pay out- of-pocket to pursue a claim but the costs in terms of time and energy which you will have to invest in the process.
The main form of compensation that is available through a lawsuit is known as general damages. General damages are to compensate you for pain and suffering, the nature of your injury and the impact on your life activities comparing pre-accident to post-accident. The Courts have set an upper limit to compensation for general damages which is approximately $360,000.00. That amount is for the worst possible injuries such as a brain injury with quadriplegia. The way in which general damages are assessed is very much an individual exercise. It is dependent on who the person is that has been injured, the nature of their injuries and the impact on them as individuals. Remember that any assessment of general damages is one that is done once and for all and so you need to wait until your injuries have plateaued and you know what their implications are for the future. In addition to general damages there are various other heads of damage which can include past and future loss of income, past and future cost of care, past and future loss of housekeeping and any monies that have been spent out-of-pocket. In addition to that, other members of your family may be entitled to Family Law Act damages for loss of care, guidance and companionship as well as for providing services to you in the event they have to do that as a result of your injuries.
In addition to the various heads of damage, you may be entitled to interest on these amounts. You will also be entitled, potentially, to a contribution towards your costs in the event you are either able to settle or you are able to succeed in a lawsuit for your injuries.
The assessment of damages is not a science. It is an art form which is dependent on presenting a compelling and powerful story as to how your injuries have affected you and your life. It is an attempt by the Court system to compensate you for what you have gone through and will go through in the future. Remember that the only currency the Court system has is money and they cannot award anything else to you. No matter how much you are compensated, you will never get your life back. Nonetheless, if you present your case properly, it will at least go some way towards helping you.