After suffering a devastating injury, you may be anxious to access the financial compensation you are entitled to when someone else is responsible for causing your injuries and damages. However, the thought of going to trial may be enough to hold you back from contacting a personal injury attorney for help.
You may hope to avoid going to court, but in some cases, having your case heard by a judge and jury is in your best interests. Although some cases can be settled outside of court with the insurance company or liable party, there are several instances in which going to trial is the best way to ensure you receive total and fair compensation for your personal injuries. A Memphis personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case and discuss your options.
Ways to Recover Compensation After a Personal Injury
No one wants to have to go to trial, particularly while dealing with an excruciatingly painful recovery. For this reason, it is important to explore all potential options for financial relief. Thankfully, tort laws give injury victims multiple opportunities to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
File a Claim with the Liable Party’s Insurance Provider
First, you may have the opportunity to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. Every state has its own fault laws. For example, in Tennessee, the state follows a fault-based system. Here, liable parties are held accountable for the victim’s damages.
When you file a claim with the insurance company, you file a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider. Unfortunately, this also means you are limited to the types and amounts of coverage the policyholder has purchased.
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Damages Insurance Typically Covers
When you file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company, you may not be able to recover compensation for every loss you have suffered due to their negligence. This is because the amount of compensation you can recover through the insurance company is limited to the policyholder’s coverage amounts.
For example, if you were critically injured in a car accident and the driver that hit you only had the minimum amount of coverage required by law, this may not be enough to fully cover your costs. Tennessee auto insurance laws, for instance, require drivers to carry $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage and $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage.
But what happens if your vehicle repair costs are greater than $25,000 or your medical bills exceed $50,000? Unfortunately, the insurance company will not be obligated to pay out above the policyholder’s limits. However, that does not mean you should lose hope.
File a Claim with Your Personal Insurer
There are certain instances in which you may have the option of filing a claim with your personal auto insurance provider. Filing a claim with your auto insurance company is not always the best move. Although you may have purchased no-fault protection coverage specifically to protect yourself in the event of an accident, unfortunately, the insurance company is likely to increase your insurance premiums if you file a claim.
Although you could seek reimbursement for these additional costs as part of your personal injury case, it will also have an impact on your reputation with the insurance company.
File a Civil Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Party
Arguably, the best way to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve after suffering an injury is by filing a personal injury lawsuit against a liable party. Unlike insurance claims, which will limit the amount you can recover and the types of damages you can receive compensation for, at trial, you have the right to be made whole.
This is a legal phrase that means you should be repaid for every loss you experienced when someone else is at fault for your injuries. Not only can you be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket or monetary losses, but you can also be repaid for the emotional trauma and distress your injuries and the accident has caused.
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Damages You Can Recover Through a Civil Claim
When determining how much compensation to seek as part of a personal injury lawsuit, you can expect your attorney to carefully review a combination of your economic and non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are also commonly referred to as general damages and describe the ways your life has been affected by the accident and your resulting injuries. Some examples of non-economic damages could include:
- Physical pain
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Skin scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Economic damages include all financial losses related to your injuries and the accident that caused them. Some examples of economic damages could include:
- Loss of household services
- Lost wages
- Loss of employer-provided health insurance
- Vehicle repair costs
- Loss of employer contributions to your 401(k)
- Personal property damages
- Costs of medical devices and equipment
- Future medical and healthcare costs
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Medical bills, including your hospital state and ambulance fees
Although you may not want to go to trial, when you go to court, there is also a possibility you could be awarded punitive damages. These are specifically designed to punish liable parties for reprehensible, malicious, or grossly negligent conduct.
Punitive damages can only be awarded when your case is heard at trial. Although they are not a compensatory loss, an award of punitive damages could dramatically increase the amount you recover in your personal injury claim.
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The personal injury claims process can be confusing. When you are still recovering from your injuries, you should not have to figure out which legal options are most likely to recover maximum compensation for your suffering. Filing a claim with the insurance company is a great way to access a portion of your damages.
However, since insurance policies limit the amount of compensation that can be paid out, going to court is an excellent way to get the most out of your claim. You do not have to go through it alone. Connect with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC today and learn more about whether going to trial is the right move for your case. You can reach us by phone or through our online contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.