When new clients retain us after being seriously injured, they will sometimes tell us “I’m a reasonable person. I just want the other driver’s insurance company to pay my medical bills.”
Reasonable clients make the best clients. However, those seriously injured due to the negligence of another are entitled to be reasonably and fairly compensated for all harm caused, including compensation for:
- medical expenses
- reasonably probable future medical care expenses
- loss of earnings
- future loss of earnings/impairment to future earning capacity.
Finally, and often the most valuable type of damage, is what people often refer to as “pain and suffering,” which is financial compensation for pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement, anxiety and loss of enjoyment of life.
How much is pain and suffering worth? Every case is fact-specific. The most important factors are the type, severity and duration of the injury. If the injury is serious, permanent and life-altering, the value is greater than if the client makes a complete recovery, given that the client is compensated for having to endure this disability for the remainder of their life. When the injury occurs to a younger client (for example, the significant burn injuries suffered by our five-year-old client several years back), the value of the pain and suffering claim is much greater given that the individual will live with the consequences of that injury for the rest of their long, long life.
Folks should always be reasonable when they seek compensation for injuries. But “reasonable” compensation is typically far greater than simply the cost of medical care, especially when the injuries are serious, permanent and disabling.