If you were injured because of the irresponsible or negligent conduct of another party, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation through a personal injury claim. This raises an important question: How much is my personal injury claim worth? The answer is that it depends entirely on the specific facts of the case.
As a general rule, your personal injury compensation will be equivalent to the value of your damages—including your direct monetary losses and your noneconomic losses. Here, our Seattle personal injury attorneys highlight the different types of damages that you may be available to recover through a legal claim in Washington.
Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Accident
- Medical Bills and Related Expenses
As a starting point, injured victims have a right to recover financial compensation for their medical costs and related expenses. After a major accident, medical bills can start to pile up almost immediately. According to the most recent data collected by Becker’s Healthcare, the average cost of a single day of inpatient care at a hospital in Washington state is more than $3,000—of course, depending on the medical treatment provided, the costs could be far higher than that. A serious accident could leave an injured victim with tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical bills, or more. The costs should be compensated as part of your personal injury claim.
- Rehabilitative Services and Future Medical Care
Beyond medical bills that have already been incurred, a personal injury claim should include financial support for physical therapy, rehabilitative care, and other likely future medical costs. It is imperative that all future medical costs are accounted for in your personal injury settlement or verdict. A Seattle, WA personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your claim and determine the extent of necessary rehabilitative and anticipated future medical costs.
- Loss of Current and Future Wages
A severe injury may prevent you from earning a paycheck—potentially for weeks, months, or even longer. Lost wages can be recovered in a personal injury claim. Indeed, your settlement should account for the professional income that you have lost. If you suffered a permanent injury, you may be eligible to recover compensation for diminished earning capacity.
- Pain and Suffering
Under Washington state law (RCW 4.56.250), injured victims have a right to recover financial relief for noneconomic damages. Most notably, this includes pain and suffering. Of course, as pain and suffering is, by definition, an intangible loss, putting a precise dollar figure on this damage is inherently challenging. Unfortunately, defendants and insurance companies frequently try to undervalue pain and suffering damages. Make sure that you work with an experienced Washington personal injury lawyer who can help you maximize your recovery for the pain and suffering that you endured.
- Permanent Impairment or Long-Term Disability
If your accident resulted in permanent impairment or long-term disability, those damages should be accounted for. The loss of lifestyle enjoyment that comes with sustained a permanent impairment should be considered and compensated in the personal injury claims process. Victims who sustained significant scarring or disfigurement should also be compensated for those noneconomic damages. Once again, it is difficult to value noneconomic losses—you need an attorney who has the skills and experience needed to hold insurance companies accountable.
- Punitive Damages
Finally, in a very small number of personal injury cases, a plaintiff may be eligible to recover punitive damages. This type of compensation is not tied to any specific “loss” suffered by the victim. Instead, the purpose of awarding punitive compensation is to punish the grossly negligent conduct of the defendant.
That being said, punitive damages are the exception in personal injury cases in Washington. As explained in the Washington Civil Jury Instructions, these damages generally must be authorized by statute. Unlike compensatory damages, they are not recoverable in standard negligence claims. Typically, these cases involve plaintiffs seeking punitive damages under federal law.
Discuss Your Case With Our Seattle, WA Personal Injury Attorney Today
At The Walthew Law Firm, our local personal injury lawyers provide strong legal representation to injured victims. If you or a loved one were hurt in an accident, we will help you recover the full and fair financial compensation that you rightfully deserve.
To set up a free personal injury case evaluation, please contact our law firm right away. With offices in Seattle and Everett, we represent injury victims throughout the region, including in Redmond, Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, Vashon Island, Snohomish, and Lynnwood.