New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyers Working Hard to Earn You Compensation
If you have been injured due to negligence or wrongdoing you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering. Medical bills are one thing, but when it comes to calculating something like pain or suffering in terms of dollars the details can get a bit hazy. The New Orleans personal injury attorneys at Bloom Legal understand how confusing it must seem and will map out the best legal strategy to get you the most damages possible.
Damages Available in Louisiana Personal Injury Claims
There are two types of damages that apply in personal injury cases: special damages and general damages.
Special damages are those losses and expenses that are quantifiable or can easily be assigned a monetary value. Special damages include damage or loss of property, medical bills, loss of wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
General damages, on the other hand, can be more difficult to put a value to, since they refer to damages that do not have a price mark or receipt. General damages include emotional or mental trauma, physical disfigurement, and loss of quality of life, among others. General damages are also commonly referred to as pain and suffering.
When calculating your personal injury claim you will want to take into account both types of damages to ensure you are seeking the full compensation to cover your injury and the resulting ramifications.
Special damages are easy enough to calculate, but what about the general damages side? The most common method for calculating a personal injury claim is known as the multiplier method.
To do this, simply calculate your special damages—add up all your medical bills, wages you missed out on while out of work, any loss of property, and any other out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a direct result of your injury. Then you multiply this number by a number 1.5 through 5.
Inevitably, calculating general damages requires a hearty dose of subjectivity. The multiplier is intended to account for this. Generally, the number you select to multiply by your special damages is dependent upon the specific factors of your injury like the severity of your injury, the apparent degree of fault on the part of the defendant, and the effects on your mental state and daily life, among other things.
can help you make the best calculation based on your injury. They can help collect evidence and use their expertise to determine an appropriate amount.
Factors Considered in Awarding Pain and Suffering Damages
In a personal injury suit, “economic losses” such as medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, and past and future lost wages are relatively easy to calculate. But what is the value of not being able to play with your kids? What dollar amount is equivalent to never-ending pain or embarrassment? How do you calculate the loss of intimacy?
That is the challenge faced by Louisiana judges and juries when trying to award compensation for “non-economic” damages, including what are known as “pain and suffering” damages. Pain and suffering damages in Louisiana are typically calculated based on the severity of the accident and resulting injury and the expected length of time it will take to fully recover from the injuries.
While there is no magic equation for calculating Louisiana pain and suffering damages, some of the factors considered include:
- Cost of medications needed to treat physical and mental pain
- Expected limitations and restrictions on the victim’s day-to-day life
- The injury’s impact on the victim’s ability to sleep
- The injury’s effect on the victim’s relationships with loved ones
- The victim’s prognosis for the future
- Past and future mental anguish
Evidence Needed to Prove Extent of Pain and Suffering in a Louisiana Personal Injury Claim
Given how difficult it can be to quantify the nature and extent of an injury victim’s pain and suffering, the evidence needed to prove those damages needs to be as compelling, detailed, and thorough as possible. The more evidence you can preserve, gather, and produce to support your claim, the better your chances are of recovering damages that fully reflect your hardships.
Types of evidence that can be powerfully effective in proving pain and suffering damages include:
- Photos of the injury victim before and after the accident
- The victim’s personal diaries or journals in which they contemporaneously describe their physical and emotional state
- Letters or testimony from family, friends, and colleagues explaining how the personal injury has negatively impacted the victim’s life
- Proof of mental health treatment
What Happens to My Damages if I am Partially At Fault for the Accident?
In personal injury cases, Louisiana has adopted the doctrine of “comparative fault,” also known as “proportionate responsibility.” Under this rule, which nine other states also apply, a plaintiff who is found to be partially at fault for an accident can still recover compensation, but damages between negligent parties are allocated based on their proportionate shares of responsibility.
LA Civ Code 2323 provides that in any personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, the judge or jury will determine the degree or percentage of fault of all persons causing or contributing to the injury, death, or loss. If the plaintiff’s injuries or death were partly the result of his own negligence and partly the fault of another person or persons, the amount of recoverable damages will be reduced in proportion to the degree or percentage of negligence attributable to the plaintiff.
Here’s how it works. A jury finds that an injured car accident plaintiff who sued another driver for compensation suffered $100,000 in damages. But the jury also finds that the plaintiff was 35% at fault for the accident, while the other driver was 65% to blame. As such, the $100,000 in damages would then be reduced by 35%, allowing the plaintiff to recover $65,000 in damages from the defendant.
Taken to the extreme, the comparative fault rule means that even if a plaintiff is found to be 99% to blame, he or she can still obtain compensation representing that remaining 1%.
Call the New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyers at Bloom Legal to Fight for Every Penny
If you’ve been in an accident and think you may have been partially at fault, don’t let that stop you from calling our New Orleans personal injury lawyers to discuss your case. You still may be able to get compensation for your injuries and losses. How a judge or jury assigns fault between a plaintiff and one or more defendants in a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated. Having an experienced lawyer on your side who knows the law and understands how to make the most persuasive case can make all the difference. Call us today at 504-599-9997 for a free consultation at our New Orleans office. Remember, you only pay us if you win, so you have nothing to lose!
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I contacted Bloom Legal out of the blue with a strange question for a fiction series I’m writing that takes place in New Orleans. Being from Maryland I was in the dark and needed assistance and they jumped at the chance to help me (they were the only law firm that responded to my e-mail). His team worked quickly and carefully to find the information I needed. Because of the help they provided it changed a large aspect of my novel and for that I am very grateful.
Posted by: Sarah Perrie