Personal injury law encompasses many types of injuries that you may receive due to accidents or even intentional torts. When you sustain an injury, it is important that you retain an attorney who has experience litigating cases that involve similar injuries as yours. For example, if you’ve suffered a dog bite, you want an attorney with significant experience handling dog bite accident cases on your side. You should also consider an attorney’s negotiation skills and past results, which should indicate that the lawyer is skilled at both negotiation and trial work.
Many people believe that they can settle with insurance companies without the help of an attorney; while that is possible, research has shown that those who retain a personal injury attorney get up to three times more compensation than those who settle their own cases. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. When you file a claim, the insurance company retains an attorney, which cuts into its bottom line, and the amount the insurance company pays out also cuts into its bottom line. Thus, insurance companies generally strive to offer as little compensation as possible to close a claim.
A personal injury attorney will ensure that the settlement the insurance company offers is fair and reasonable and that it covers most, if not all, of your injury costs. If you and the attorney agree that the amount that the insurance company is offering is insufficient, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
The law divides damages into three categories: (1) special, (3) general, and (3) punitive. Special damages, often referred to as economic damages, are for items with a set price, such as medical expenses. General damages are non-economic and are meant to compensate injured individuals for items that do not have a set price, such as pain and suffering. Punitive damages, which courts rarely award, are meant to serve as a punishment and deterrent when a defendant’s grossly negligent or intentionally reckless behavior causes injury.
Economic damages may include compensation for the following:
It is difficult to calculate an exact price for general damages, though attorneys will attempt to estimate the price of such damages as accurately as possible. Non-economic damages are meant to make an injured individual whole again, by making it easier to get the care that they need following an accident. General damages may include compensation for the following:
A court will only award punitive damages if a defendant’s grossly negligent or intentional actions caused the accident. For example, if a drunk driver causes an accident, a court may consider awarding punitive damages. If a trespasser causes injuries because of his or her purposeful trespassing and negligent behavior while trespassing, the injured party may seek punitive damages.
Before retaining any personal injury attorney, you should always ask about the past judgments that he or she secured for injured clients. At Benson & Bingham, we’ve won more than $127,000,000 in damages for our clients, including:
When you attempt to settle with an insurance company on your own, you may miss out on general and/or punitive damages to which you may be entitled, such as compensation for pain and suffering or loss of companionship. The insurance company may offer to pay for your current medical costs and possibly lost wages, but likely nothing else, such as future medical expenses, future lost wages, or pain and suffering.
If you’ve sustained an injury in Reno in any type of accident, including vehicle, hotel and casino, workplace, slip and fall, pedestrian, bicycle, product liability, and dog bite accidents, or if one of your loved ones died in such an accident, contact Benson & Bingham today at (775) 600-6000 or via our online contact page for a free consultation.