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Injury Attorney Birmingham

Damages for Birmingham Personal Injury

Damages are awarded for a variety of different types of injuries in Birmingham personal injury lawsuits, including physical injuries, emotional suffering, and financial losses sustained as a result of an accident. There are two basic types of damages recognized by law: compensatory and punitive, both of which are discussed briefly below.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to make up for the injuries suffered as a result of the accident. There are two types of compensatory damages – actual damages, such as the out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the injury, and general damages, which may include emotional distress or diminished ability to enjoy once-loved activities. Actual damages may include lost wages, medical bills paid, rental car costs incurred while your vehicle is undergoing repairs, property damage, and any other economic losses that may have resulted from the accident.

General damages, on the other hand, are difficult to quantify in dollars. These types of damages may include loss of enjoyment of life activities, loss of consortium (care, companionship, and affection from your spouse), lost future earnings, and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering refers not only to the physical pain and suffering you have endured as a direct result of the accident, but also the emotional trauma of undergoing surgery or being unable to participate in life activities because of the injury. The following table lists some of the different types of actual and general damages that may be claimed by an accident victim:

Actual Damages

General Damages

Medical and hospital bills

Future medical bills

Lost wages

Lost future earnings

Cost of household or nursing help required during recovery

Pain and suffering

Cost of wheelchair, crutches, etc.

Physical disfigurement or permanent injury

Cost of rental car

Loss of consortium

Property damage

Lost opportunity

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are imposed as a means of punishing the defendant for intentional conduct or gross negligence in causing your injuries. These types of damages are reserved for conduct that is so egregious that a pecuniary penalty is warranted to deter the defendant from committing the same wrongful act in the future. In Alabama, punitive damages may only be awarded if the judge or jury determines that the defendant consciously or deliberately engaged in oppression, fraud, wantonness, or malice in causing the plaintiff’s injuries. This is a very strict burden that is difficult for most plaintiffs to meet.  In addition, punitive damages awards may not exceed $1.5 million in personal injury cases. Contact the Birmingham personal injury experts at The Walker Law Firm to discuss which types of damages may be applicable in your case.

Factors Affecting Damage Awards

  • Nature of Injury: It stands to reason that the most important factor affecting the amount of recoverable damages is the nature of the injury sustained. The more serious the injury, the higher the value of the claim. In addition, the amount of treatment required, as well as the degree of permanency of your injuries can significantly affect the amount you will recover. Conditions which require surgery and extensive rehabilitation will present more compelling evidence of damages than injuries that heal without the need for medical intervention.
  • Contributory Negligence: If a plaintiff is found even partially at fault for causing an accident, he or she may have lost his or her case altogether. Contributory negligence is used to calculate the degree of the plaintiff’s negligence. In Alabama, if a plaintiff is found even 1% responsible for causing the accident, he or she will be barred from recovering any damages.
  • Credibility: Whether or not a jury or insurance company is likely to find you and your claim believable and of significant worth will strongly impact your claim. Can you accurately describe the events of the accident? Are you intelligent and well spoken? Would you make a good witness on your own behalf? The term used to describe the intangible factors is “jury appeal.” Remember that the jury members will judge both you and the defendant, and that their opinion of you will weigh into their decision on whether to award you damages, and if so, how much. It is important that all of the claims that you make are supported by the evidence, or you may quickly lose credibility with the jury.
  • Plaintiff’s Age: Age plays a role in determining the value of a plaintiff’s claim for damages, particularly where permanency of injury is alleged. If you are a 20-year-old woman who lost her leg in an accident, then a jury will award a higher amount of damages than if you are an 80-year-old woman with the same injury. The basis for this is that the younger woman has more future pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income, and mental anguish ahead of her than does the older woman.
  • Witness Testimony: The credibility of witnesses is also a factor affecting the amount of recovery. This relates not only to witnesses to the accident itself, where proof of fault can be affected by their testimony, but to witnesses who are called to testify as to the extent of your damages, as well. It is helpful to have credible witnesses who can clearly describe your condition before the accident to the jury, so as to assist them in understanding the change in your condition post-accident. In addition, expert witnesses often play a critical role in the outcome of any personal injury trial. In cases where there are “dueling experts,” the background and professional experience of your expert is critical to establishing his or her influence over the jury.

An experienced Birmingham personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and help calculate damages for your losses. Call 1-877-925-5373 today for a free initial consultation.

In all matters involving Birmingham personal injury, it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. If you have suffered a personal injury, call the Birmingham injury lawyers at The Walker Law Firm now at (877) 925-5373 or SUBMIT A FREE CASE EVALUATION. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if our Birmingham personal injury attorneys agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means our Birmingham injury attorneys get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

The above is not legal advice. That can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of a particular, specific case and the relevant law. See Terms of Use.

Personal Injury Attorney Birmingham