When you’ve been injured in an accident, the path to recovery can often be difficult and frustrating. Apart from the physical and emotional trauma, the financial implications can be overwhelming. At the Kohn Law Firm, our Bronx personal injury lawyers want to simplify this process. We hope that by explaining how personal injury settlements are calculated in New York, we can help to clarify some legal questions on this issue you may have.
The first step in calculating personal injury settlements is understanding the concept of ‘damages’, the legal term for the monetary compensation you can receive in a personal injury lawsuit. In New York, damages are classified into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages, often referred to as “special damages,” compensate for quantifiable financial losses incurred due to an accident. These may include:
Medical Expenses: This covers all medical costs related to the injury, including hospital bills, physical therapy, medication, and future medical care if necessary.
Lost Earnings: If your injuries prevent you from working, either temporarily or permanently, you can be compensated for lost wages and diminished future earning capacity.
Property Damage: If your personal property, such as your car, was damaged in the accident, the cost of repair or replacement is considered.
Non-economic damages, or “general damages,” cover non-tangible losses that don’t have a clear dollar value. They may include:
Pain and Suffering: This compensates for the physical pain and discomfort endured due to the accident and subsequent injuries.
Emotional Distress: Accidents can lead to mental and emotional trauma such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Loss of Enjoyment of Life: This covers the decrease in your quality of life, such as not being able to participate in activities you once enjoyed.
Loss of Consortium: This is compensation for the impact on relationships with your spouse or family members due to the injuries.
Calculating Damages in New York
Economic damages are typically easier to calculate as they involve tangible, out-of-pocket expenses. In contrast, non-economic damages like pain and suffering can be more challenging to quantify. In New York, there’s no set formula for this calculation, and it often depends on the facts of each case. A personal injury attorney with deep understanding of New York law and legal precedents can be an invaluable resource in accurately valuing these damages.
The Impact of Comparative Negligence
New York follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule. If you’re partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced proportionally by your percentage of fault. For example, if your total damages are $100,000 but you’re found to be 30% at fault, your compensation would be reduced to $70,000.
The Influence of Insurance Policy Limits
The defendant’s insurance policy limit can also influence your settlement. If the defendant’s insurance limit is insufficient to cover your damages, you might need to explore other avenues for compensation such as suing the defendant directly or seeking coverage from your own insurance.
Contact Kohn Law Firm
Given the complexity of calculating personal injury settlements, contacting Kohn Law Firm is important. An experienced attorney can evaluate your case, calculate potential damages, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for your rights, ensuring you receive the full compensation you deserve.
At Kohn Law Firm, we are dedicated to guiding you through this complex process and fighting for the maximum settlement on your behalf. If you’re navigating the aftermath of an accident in The Bronx, reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys. We’re here to help you.