If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, medical malpractice, defective product, slip and fall accident or another type of significant injury, you are probably considering whether you should sue the responsible party. You have medical bills, missed time from work, and are forced to deal with emotional trauma due to someone else’s negligence. You may, however, be hesitating because you’re not sure what your case would be worth.
Alabama Law Regarding Caps on Personal Injury Lawsuits
In the past, Alabama imposed limits on the amount of money an injured person could collect in an injury case, particularly those related to medical malpractice. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled this practice unconstitutional. That means the state imposes no limits on damages in a personal injury case against a private individual or business, except for punitive damages. Punitive damages refer to compensation awarded to the plaintiff for the sole purpose of punishing egregious behavior by the defendant. Additionally, Alabama caps damages at $100,000 for any personal injury case against a city, town, or county.
Categories of Compensatory Damages Paid in Personal Injury Cases
Most money awarded in a personal injury case compensates the injured person for financial loss, physical suffering, and emotional trauma. As discussed above, punitive damages may also be awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were especially reckless and showed little to no regard for the safety of others. Monetary losses are much easier for a jury to assess and award than more subjective categories like pain and suffering. These types of compensatory damages include:
- Cost of past, present, and future medical care: In a successful lawsuit, plaintiffs typically receive payment for medical costs they have already incurred and an estimate for costs they expect to incur in the future. This covers such things as hospital admissions, physical therapy, equipment needed to make the home handicapped accessible, and counseling for psychological trauma.
- Lost wages and loss of future earning potential: If you’re employed and cannot work due to your injuries, you should receive payment for lost wages. You’re also entitled to compensation if your injuries force you to accept a lower-paying job, ineligible for promotions, or stop working altogether.
- Reimbursement for property loss or damage: This can include repair or replacement of your vehicle, equipment in your vehicle such as a computer for work, damage to your home, and several other types of property damage.
Estimating the cost of future medical expenses and loss of earning potential can be challenging. The insurance company representing the other party will naturally try to minimize these losses and expenses as much as possible. Fortunately, the Alabama personal injury attorneys at The Alsobrook Jackson Law Firm have years of experience fighting insurance companies whose only concern is paying as little as possible to injured people, while protecting their bottom line. We uncover the evidence you need to show the full financial impact the accident has had on your life.
Compensatory damages can also include payments for non-monetary injuries. The amounts of these payments can be hard to predict and often depend on an appeal to the emotions of jurors. Common types of non-monetary compensatory damages include:
- Pain and suffering: An accident can leave you with chronic pain for the rest of your life. Alabama law recognizes this, which is why it allows juries to consider compensation for pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress: This may be included with pain and suffering and sometimes awarded as a separate category. It compensates personal injury victims for stress, depression, anxiety, and other emotional difficulties caused by the accident.
- Loss of consortium: This refers to the loss of the emotional and physical relationship the injured person enjoyed with their spouse prior to the accident. Changes to parent and child relationships may also be considered. Unlike other categories of compensatory damages, loss of consortium is paid directly to the spouse, parent, or other affected person.
- Loss of enjoyment: If the accident prevents the injured person from enjoying hobbies, recreational activities, travel, exercise, and other types of enjoyment, he or she may receive loss of enjoyment compensation.
Contact Us to Learn More
Alsobrook Jackson, Attorneys at Law, offers a free case review for anyone who has experienced a personal injury. Contact our experienced and compassionate Alabama injury attorneys today at (334) 737-3718 or by utilizing our online contact form.