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The most common personal injury cases are motor vehicle accidents, involving cars, motorcycles, 18-wheelers, bicycles and more. These types of accidents can be devastating, not only causing massive, life-changing injuries, but also overwhelming families financially at a time when they need to focus on healing.

Drivers are required to carry liability insurance, but unfortunately, after an accident occurs, insurance companies are generally more interested in protecting their profits than in doing right by the victims.

If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, the at-fault party can be held liable for your medical bills and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. Contact personal injury lawyers Kerrigan Estess Rankin McLeod & Thompson today to take care of your personal injury claim.

Our personal injury lawyers have successfully represented injured victims and families for nearly 40 years. We will treat you with the respect and compassion. We will strive to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. Call us today. 850-444-4444. Or fill out the Contact Us form available online. Remember, you will not be charged anything unless we make a recovery in your case.

Glossary of Terms

(Terms used in personal injury cases)

Disfigurement

When the injury has left the plaintiff deformed or disfigured, i. e., by horrible scars or other insults to one’s personal appearance, the plaintiff may be able to collect damages for his or her mental suffering caused by being conscious of the disfigurement. These damages are sometimes included as an element of other types of damages, such as mental anguish.

 

Future medical expenses

Recovery is permitted if the plaintiff proves that he or she will need continued medical care as a result of the defendant’s wrongful act. The proof must be sufficient for the jury to make an approximate estimate of the cost.

 

Future profits

Recovery for projected profits that, because of the injury, will not be earned. Proof requires a showing that there is a reasonable basis for determining the amount. Speculation is not proof.

 

General damages

Compensation for harm that ordinarily results from wrongful conduct, such as physical and mental pain, loss of the enjoyment of life; these damages cannot be proved with monetary exactness and fall under the term “general.”

 

Household services

The cost of hiring someone to do things around the house while the plaintiff is recuperating, provided that the expense would not have been incurred had the plaintiff not been injured. Household services are sometimes included as a medical expense.

 

Loss of consortium

Deprivation of the benefits of married life, i. e., the affection, solace, comfort, companionship, society, help, assistance and the sexual relations between spouses. Usually the uninjured spouse makes the claim and his or her recovery will depend on whether the injured spouse recovers any damages. Sometimes the injured person will make this claim as well. A value is placed on this loss by considering the couple’s individual life expectancies, whether the marriage was stable, how much care and companionship was bestowed upon the uninjured spouse (or vice versa) and the extent to which the benefits of married life have been lost.

 

Loss of consortium of a child

Parents may be able to recover damages when their child is injured when the injuries are severe enough that they interfere with the normal relationship between parents and their children.

 

Loss of the enjoyment of life

A diminished ability to enjoy the day-to-day pleasures of life. Loss of enjoyment is an item of general damages, meaning there is no precise way to place a monetary value on it. Some states treat it as a form of pain and suffering and other states treat it as a distinct kind of damage.

 

Loss of society and companionship

Damages awarded in cases involving wrongful death that represent the positive benefits flowing from the love, comfort, companionship and society the plaintiff family members (as defined in your state’s wrongful-death statute) would have enjoyed had the decedent lived. A jury considers evidence that a harmonious relationship existed between the plaintiff and the decedent, their living arrangements, common interests and activities, and whether the decedent and plaintiff were separated for extended periods. See also, “Loss of consortium” and “Loss of consortium of a child.”

 

Lost or diminished earning capacity

May be recovered if the plaintiff proves that his or her ability to earn money in the future has been impaired or diminished by the injuries the defendant caused. Factors that help detemine whether an award should be made include the plaintiff’s age, health, life expectancy, occupation, talents, skills experience and training. One court described these damages as the “increased probability of unemployment.” Past earnings are a factor to determine the amount, but the claim really focuses on what could have been.

 

Lost profits

Net profits the plaintiff would have earned in his or her business had the plaintiff not been injured by the defendant. The plaintiff usually must show that the business was profitable, that the profits decreased since the plaintiff was injured, that the losses are not caused by something else (such as an economic down-turn) and the extent to which the business was the plaintiff’s “baby,” rather than dependent on the labor of others.

 

Lost wages

The amount of money the plaintiff would have earned from the time he or she was injured to the date of the trial. An unemployed person may be permitted to recover lost wages if he or she can prove what he or she could have earned during the same period.

 

Medical expenses

Bills and expenses for doctors, hospital stays, emergency room treatment, ambulance fees, nursing services and the like. The plaintiff must show that the expenses are related to medical conditions resulting from his or her injury. The total amount of medical expenses is sometimes used as a rough guide to decide whether the overall award of damages is reasonable. The cost of a medical examination for the purposes of litigation is not recoverable as a medical expense.

 

Mental anguish / Emotional distress

Any mental suffering or emotional distress such as fright, terror, apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, worry, humiliation, mortification, feeling of lost dignity, embarrassment, greif, shock or ordeal.

 

Pain and suffering

An award for past and future physical pain. To place a monetary value on pain and suffering, the jury considers the nature of the injury, the certainty of future pain, the pain’s severity and how long the plaintiff is likely to be in pain. Some states allow the jury to assume that if a bodily injury has occurred there has been some pain and suffering and some states require that the plaintiff be conscious.

 

Permanent disability

An injury which impairs the physical and/or mental ability of a person to perform his/her normal work or non-occupational activities for the remainder of his/her life. Best proved by medical testimony; a doctor usually must examine the plaintiff.

 

Present cash value

The current value of projected future earnings. The amount that, if invested wisely, will over time produce the amount the plaintiff would have earned had he or she not been injured.

 

Special damages

Monetary losses, such as medical expenses. Recovery requires detailed proff that the losses were sustained and how much money was involved.