What are general damages in personal injury

General damages in the event of your personal injury are costs that have no exact economic value. However, these damages can make up a large part of your personal injury claim.

General damages are estimated using one or more formulas and will depend on the unique circumstances of your case.

Types of General damages

The following are common types of general damages in personal injury cases:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental or emotional pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement or deformity
  • Lost of enjoyment
  • Lost of consortium and companionship (in wrongful death cases)

It is difficult to calculate such damages due to subjectivity. How can you put a monetary value on the loss of the use of a body part or the loss of a loved one? General damages can vary from case to case and are more difficult to estimate than special damages .

Factors That Influence General damages personal injury

Some insurance companies use formulas for general damages when they offer you a personal injury settlement. The "multiplier method" is a common formula that involves taking your own damages by multiplying it by a factor of 1.5-5. The specific multiplier is selected based on how serious your injuries are.

However, your lawyer can pay back on this account in several ways. If other plaintiffs win larger awards in cases similar to yours, the insurance company may take a risk by offering a lower settlement. Juries are unpredictable and can be influenced by the emotional aspects of the case.

Public tort negotiations do not take place in a vacuum, so the facts surrounding your case will also be considered. Is there clear evidence of who was at fault in the accident? Should your overall damages be significantly higher than your own due to the nature of your injuries? A Personal Injury Lawyer will have to consider all these arguments during settlement negotiations.

Evaluating Settlement Offers

Ultimately, you and your attorney will have to evaluate any settlement offers you receive and decide if you think they are fair. If not, you have the option of taking your case to trial and letting the jury determine what the damages should be.

Personal injury cases examples

Personal injury is a very broad area of law that includes several types of injuries. However, there are a few types of personal injury cases that are particularly common in the United States. Here are five examples of personal injury claims that can be pursued with the help of a Personal Injury Lawyer.

  • Auto Accident Injury
If a person was injured as a result of a car accident and was not at fault, he may be able to demand compensation for injuries. Prosecutors need medical documents detailing the injuries sustained, insurance information, as well as a police report detailing the events of the accident.
  • Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice cases deal with injuries caused by a doctor's negligence or improper treatment. These personal injury cases usually require that the doctor has broken a rule or has taken incorrect, negligent or inappropriate actions in treating the patient.
  • Product Liability
In the event that a person was injured while using a defective product, he may be entitled to demand compensation for injuries. Certain types of injuries, such as those to which "inescapably dangerous" products are exposed, are not included.
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
Persons injured due to slipping and falling on public or private property may receive compensation for their injuries. Cases of personal injury from slipping and falling usually depend on the safety of the environment-the condition of the injured person is enhanced if the property is unreasonably or unpredictably dangerous for others.
  • Wrongful Death
Wrongful death claims involve the death of a person due to the negligence of another person. For example, if a person died as a result of an accident at an unspecified construction site, his family may be entitled to compensation.

Personal injury settlement statistics

In this country, a vast proportion of civil litigation is made up of personal injury lawsuits. These claims are covered under the tort claim acts. In order for the case to be heard, he must have been injured by a person, or damages must have been caused to property, and this must be the result of unlawful or negligent actions of a third person or entity. Common cases include traffic accidents, construction accidents, dog bites, defective products, and medical malpractice. Unfortunately, in our society today, these types of accidents happen very regularly. Understanding the statistics surrounding personal injury paints a clear picture of the types of accidents that occur in our country, and what are the consequences of these accidents.

Statistics of Personal Injuries

The National Center for Health Statistics, A department within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that about 31 million people infected throughout our country every year need medical treatment. Of these, some 2 million are severe enough to require some form of hospitalization. In addition, 162,000 of these injuries are fatal.

When next looking at construction accidents, it is believed that these represent some 300,000 personal injuries per year, as well as 1,000 deaths.

Finally, medical malpractice is believed to be behind the deaths of about 98, 000 people each year.

This shows how many accidental injuries and deaths actually occur in our country every year. Unsurprisingly, therefore, responsibility is often disputed in these cases. When this happens, a personal injury case or any other form of litigation may be required.

Statistics of Personal Injury Cases

The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics has It reported that of the 26,928 trials for real estate, contracts and damages in 2005, 60% were related to some form of personal injury. It was also found that more than 7,000 cases of personal injury were heard in state courts in the 75 most populous counties of our country.

Although accurate data is not available, the US Department of Justice has estimated that about 16,397 default cases have been tried at the national level, based on a sample of state courts across the country. It is important to understand how important this is in fact, since only 4% of personal injury cases actually go to trial. The majority settles out of court. As such, the actual personal injury claims in this country, if the estimate is correct, would be 409,925, a staggering figure.

The US Department of justice also highlighted the nature of personal injury cases, which provided real clarity about the commonality of various incidents. They found that:

  • 52% was a result of motor vehicle accidents.
  • 15% was in relation to medical malpractice.
  • 5% was as a result of product liability.

The remaining 28 per cent covers "other"cases. This highlights the variety of personal injuries that occur. It also highlights the importance of accidents on the road.

Then the report of the US Department of Justice considered the results of the cases already submitted for trial. Interestingly, the plaintiffs were successful in about half of the cases. There were some noticeable differences depending on what kind of damages case was actually heard. As such:

  • In motor vehicle related incidents, plaintiffs were successful 61% of the time.
  • In intentional tort trials, plaintiffs were successful 50% of the time.
  • In premises liability trials, the success rate for plaintiffs stands at 39%.
  • In product liability trials, plaintiffs were successful in 38% of cases.
  • Just 19% of plaintiffs were successful in medical malpractice trials, which demonstrates just how hard it is to prove medical negligence.

Interestingly, judges seem to be more inclined to believe the plaintiff (56%) than jurors (51%).

However, these statistics are relative, mainly because what really matters to most people is how much damages has already been paid. The US Department of justice also reported its findings on this matter, which are as follows:

  • Half of all plaintiffs received no more than $24,000.
  • The median award is $31,000 for all cases.
  • The median award in motor vehicle personal injury cases is $16,000.
  • The median award in premises liability cases was $90,000.
  • Intentional tort cases had a median payout of $100,000.
  • Medical malpractice cases paid out an average of $679,000.
  • Product liability cases had a median payout of $748,000.

These results show two main things. Firstly, cases where litigation is not often conducted have higher payments. Secondly, cases where the injury or the probability of injury is worse also pay more.

Finally, the report also found out that the court process for those personal injury cases that in fact will go to trial was incredibly long. Again, there were noticeable differences depending on the type of case. As such, the average for:

  • Tort lawsuits was 23 months.
  • Motor vehicle accident cases was 20 months.
  • Medical malpractice cases was 31 months.
  • Premises liability was 24 months.
  • Intentional tort cases was 25 months.

So it was found that the lawsuits were particularly long. Moreover, the trial itself will last a long time, when compared with other types of cases. It was found that the average time of the physical experiment was:

Six days for a medical malpractice case.
• Seven days for product liability cases.
• Thirteen days for trials that included asbestos claims. However, these are much more complex by their very nature and require a lot of evidence to be presented in court before decisions can be made.

Consequential damages personal injury

This page within Virginia tort case law is a compilation of cases reported by the Supreme Court of Virginia and summarized by Bryn Roche dealing with the subject of consequential damages and related subject matter of personal injury. For more information about the concept of consequential damages see the page on Wikipedia. 

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