When you have a claim for injuries that another person caused, you receive compensation — referred to in the legal context as damages — for your losses. Calculation of compensation in a Kansas personal injury case takes a wide range of factors into consideration. The elements that comprise compensatory damages cover both economic and non-economic losses.
Special damages in a personal injury case account for economic losses. This compensation includes monetary losses for items such as:
The past costs for these types of losses are relatively easy to prove. The difficulty arises in calculating future expenses and losses relating to long-lasting or permanent injuries. Because speculative losses cannot be recovered, medical and financial experts sometimes are necessary to substantiate these losses.
General damages in a personal injury case reimburse the victim for non-economic losses. This category of compensation includes damages for non-monetary losses, including:
By their nature, general damages are difficult to prove. It also is challenging to attach a monetary value to them. Attorneys and insurance companies use various methods to value pain and suffering losses. The nature and extent of physical injuries, treatment necessary, and period of recovery generally play a role in the calculation.
Previously, a Kansas statute limited the amount of non-economic compensation that could be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. However, on June 14, 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court held the statute unconstitutional. As a result, there is no longer a cap on the amount of non-economic damages in Kansas personal injury cases. Additional details are available in our blog post about the Supreme Court decision.
Unlike compensatory damages, exemplary or punitive damages do not compensate for the victim’s injuries. They punish the person who caused the injuries.
In Kansas, state law governs punitive damage claims. Courts rarely allow punitive damage claims in personal injury cases. A punitive damage claim involves an assertion of willful or wanton conduct, fraud, or malice by the person who caused the injuries.
Asserting a punitive damage claim in a personal injury case requires permission of the trial judge. The victim’s attorney must demonstrate specific evidence in requesting permission to make the claim. If the court permits a punitive damage claim, the judge holds a separate hearing to determine the amount of punitive damages.
The Kansas statute includes specific considerations for the court to take into account at the hearing. It also includes limitations on the amount that can be awarded.
If you suffered serious injuries in an accident caused by another person, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Attempting to calculate your compensation on your own is a serious mistake. Most likely, you will not receive the full compensation you deserve if you try to make your own calculations.
Determining the amount of compensation in a Kansas personal injury case in extremely complicated. While some economic damages (like medical expenses) are obvious, other components of compensation involve determining the monetary value of future losses. Making those calculations involves a complex process. Assistance from medical and other experts may be necessary.
Ascertaining the dollar value of damages for pain and suffering (non-economic losses) is even more difficult. Those calculations require experience in handling personal injury cases and calculating compensation for accident injuries in accordance with accepted practices.
Trying to calculate your own personal injury compensation is a mistake. Talking with the at-fault person’s insurance company and trying to settle your own case is an even bigger mistake. Not only are you likely to get much less compensation than you deserve, but you might even end up making statements that harm your claim. You risk ending up with nothing.
Skillful personal injury attorneys know how to calculate economic and non-economic compensation properly, in order to get full compensation for an injured client. They also know how to deal with aggressive, stingy insurance adjusters, whose goal is to pay the lowest possible amount (or nothing) for a personal injury claim.
When you receive injuries in an accident, you should focus on getting treatment and making a full recovery. The best way to do that is to rely on an experienced personal attorney to pursue your claim, negotiate your compensation, and even file a court action if it becomes necessary.
At the Salina, Kansas law firm Hampton & Royce, L.C., we assist clients throughout the state with personal injury matters, including car and truck accidents. Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your case with us.