When you seek compensation after a construction accident, you’re seeking payment for the damages you’ve suffered. Damages are the negative consequences caused by your accident. The law allows victims to seek money to pay for the costs of these damages.
Every case is unique, so every case ends up with a different amount of money. How does an Indiana construction accident lawyer calculate damages? Here’s how.
Types of Damages
There are three categories of damages you could collect from a construction accident. They are:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Economic and non-economic damages can be lumped together into a category called compensatory damages. They are the damages that the law requires defendants to pay victims financial compensation. Punitive damages are much more rare. A court awards them to punish a defendant whose actions were especially harmful or negligent.
Compensatory damages cover a wide range of harms you may suffer because of your accident. Here are a few of the major categories.
A construction accident will leave you with medical debt and could put you out of work for weeks or more. Some workers can never work again. These are examples of economic damages.
Workers’ compensation claims pay for most economic damages in construction accident cases. Workers’ comp covers medical bills and a portion of your lost wages, along with a few other damage types, depending on your situation.
There are other economic damages that may not come to mind immediately. For example, you may need to renovate your home to accommodate a disability after your accident. The costs for those renovations would be economic damages.
You may also be entitled to non-economic damages if your case qualifies for a lawsuit. Non-economic damages cover harms you suffered after your accident that don’t have a financial impact on your life. These include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and others.
It’s important to know that workers’ compensation does not cover non-economic damages. Your case must qualify for a third-party lawsuit or meet strict requirements to sue an employer or a coworker. If it does not, you cannot claim these.
However, in construction accidents, there is a complicated web of relationships between contractors and subcontractors. It’s quite possible that the person who harmed you doesn’t work for the company you work for. Therefore, you could sue that worker and their employer. A construction accident lawyer can help you find out if it’s possible.
In rare cases, a defendant may commit actions so beyond the norm for negligence that the court will wish to punish them. They may tell the defendant to pay you additional money for what you’ve suffered. This money is known as punitive damages.
We can ask for punitive damages based on similar situations from past cases, but it is up to a judge and jury to decide whether to award them and how much they should be. You can only get them if your case goes to trial.
Calculating the Value of Damages
Evidence is the key to calculating the value of your damages. Calculating economic damages is fairly straightforward. Your lawyer will collect evidence showing your financial harm, like bills and pay stubs. They may also project these costs into the future if it seems you’ll be out of work for some time.
Non-economic damages aren’t quantifiable. Lawyers and insurers negotiate their value. There are still ways to get evidence proving you’ve suffered from these and to support our argument for their value. For example, you might keep a pain journal of your experiences, or A loved one might give testimony about how your injury has changed you and your family.
Sometimes, a lawyer may call in an expert witness to testify to the harm you’ve suffered or will suffer in the future. An expert can provide powerful evidence to convince an insurer to pay you what you’re really entitled to receive.
Ways to Calculate Non-Economic Damages
How does a construction accident lawyer calculate the value of your pain and suffering? There are two standard ways of doing it. The first is to take the value of your economic damages as a baseline. This value is multiplied by a number between 1 and 5. The exact number is negotiated between your lawyer and the insurer.
The second way is done by assigning a value to how much suffering you experience each day. Once this has been decided, it’s multiplied by how many days you’ve suffered after your accident. We may also project this value into the future if you’re facing a long recovery.
Can I Negotiate With the Insurers on My Own?
We don’t advise this. Insurers, even workers’ comp insurers, are working to pay as little as possible. They have decades of experience and data and an entire army of lawyers working on their side to reduce costs.
They may try to give you a quick settlement, urging you to put the situation behind you as quickly as possible. These quick settlements are almost always less than what you deserve. Don’t take the easy way out; speak with a construction accident lawyer first.
We can calculate the damages in your case and help you fight for the full value of the claim, not what the insurers want to pay you. We will search for evidence to support claims of economic, non-economic, and even punitive damages.
You only get one chance to get paid for your accident, so make sure you get the most you can. Speak with Vaughan & Vaughan today about your construction accident. You could be owed much more than you think.