How to Calculate The Value of a Bus Accident
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Though the United States does not have a robust bus riding population like in some other countries, in a 2017 study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, around 67,000 bus crashes occurred. Fortunately, there are legal remedies if you suffered an injury from a bus accident. Like most other personal injury accidents, you may file a personal injury claim against the individual or entity responsible. However, you may also be wondering how exactly to calculate the amount of money you should seek for your personal injury. Our experienced attorneys may be able to help.
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury from a bus accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our bus accident lawyers.
How to Calculate Settlement Value
Most personal injury claims do not end in a dramatic fashion in the courtroom. Generally, they are settled between the parties involved way before talks of a trial even begin. Though a trial can be a headache many magnitudes worse than a settlement, calculating a settlement value in and of itself can also be an arduous task. You should never go into a settlement negotiation without being prepared.
This means that you should have the necessary documents and evidence that can provide a solid case for why you deserve a certain amount of compensation. Remember, when you are settling, you often deal with an insurance claims adjuster who looks at various factors to determine how much your claim is worth. You should have an attorney by your side to help you negotiate with the adjuster.
What to Consider When Calculating Potential Settlement Value from a Bus Accident
Incurred Medical Expenses
Bus accidents can lead to a host of physical injuries. The cost of treating physical injuries will probably make a bulk of your potential settlement amount in a bus accident claim. Below is a list of the more serious injuries that can occur in a bus accident.
Traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, can occur when an individual’s head strikes an object or shakes with considerable force, that is, force that causes the brain to hit inside the skull. You may have seen on the news of former football players who have suffered concussions during their professional careers and now suffer a host of debilitating physical and mental ailments. Symptoms of dizziness, difficulty concentrating, depression, and others are prevalent in those who suffer from a traumatic brain injury.
Spinal cord injury
The spinal cord is essentially a string of nerves that runs down the back to the pelvis. The brain transmits nerve signals through the spinal cord so you can move and feel. A damaged spinal cord can result in paralysis, muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness.
Sometimes, a bus accident can lead to an explosion or fire. Such an accident can result in burns in the accident victims. Though there are different degrees of burns, the most severe burns can lead to hospital treatments that last for weeks or even months. Even after receiving initial treatment, a victim may have to return to the hospital on a regular basis to get skin grafts.
A severe bus crash can hurl bus passengers into the sides and windows of the bus. An individual who crashes into a solid surface with sufficient force can break parts of his or her body. Broken bones are painful, and recovering can be irritating as they will prevent you from doing daily routines normally for weeks or months.
Though the above types of injuries are some of the more severe injuries an individual can receive in a bus accident, you should always consider the losses sustained due to any injury when considering the settlement.
Future Medical Expenses
Remember to not only consider the present cost of medical treatment when considering the settlement amount, but also the cost of future medical treatment. A severe accident may not be just one trip to the hospital but multiple ones. If you receive a settlement amount just for present treatment, you may be shortchanged when you may have multiple treatments later down the road. For instance, if you suffered from a severe burn, but in your settlement, you ask only for money to compensate you for one specific treatment, you would be missing out on potential compensation for later treatments such as skin grafting.
Though injuries to the body of a person are perhaps the most important when considering the value of a settlement amount, do not forget that when negotiating a settlement amount you may also ask for compensation for any damages received to your property as well. For instance, if your car was totaled because a bus crashed into your car, you may ask for reimbursement for repair bills when discussing the settlement amount with the at-fault party.
Loss of Income
An injury resulting from an accident may temporarily disable you from working. And unless your employer is generous and gives you a paycheck even if you do not show up to work, you will lose out on the money you could have earned but for your injury. A personal injury claimant may seek to be compensated for this lost income. To prove the amount of lost income, you must show evidence by providing pay stubs or tax returns.
Future Lost Income
Injuries may prevent you from working altogether in the future. In such cases, you will want to seek compensation for future lost income. Future lost income is the income you would have received in the future but for your accident. For instance, if you were a cook at a restaurant, but lost your hands due to a personal injury accident and will no longer be able to cook, a judge or the jury will look at your wages when you were employed and extrapolate to determine how much you would have earned in the future as a cook.
Non-economic damages include intangible costs associated with the accident. For example, pain and suffering can be described as the emotional distress a plaintiff endures after an accident. If a plaintiff lost his wife in the accident, he may ask for compensation for loss of consortium, which essentially asks to be compensated for the loss of being able to be with his wife.
ECONOMIC VS. NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES
Economic vs Non-Economic Damages
In general, there are two types of damages a successful personal injury claimant may receive: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages compensate victims for tangible and objective financial losses, while non-economic damages compensate for subjective and unquantifiable non-monetary losses. A simple example of an economic loss would be if you damaged your car in a bus accident. Perhaps the crash led to a side mirror falling off. In that case, you would ask to be compensated for the repair of that side window. As you can see, this kind of damage would be easily quantifiable. You just need to go to a repair shop and you would find out the financial cost of repairing the side mirror.
However, if due to a bus accident, you now suffer from chronic pain, this would count as a non-economic loss. There is no easy way to calculate pain. Pain is subjective. A slight ache to one individual may be a minor annoyance while to another it may be enough to prevent them from functioning.
To put it simply, economic damages are for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the injury, while non-economic damages are for losses that cannot be objectively calculated in monetary terms.
Below is a list of some types of losses that economic damages compensate:
- Lost earnings
- Medical expenses
- Lost business opportunities due to injuries
- Costs associated with damaged property or for repairs
Below is a list of some types of losses that non-economic damages compensate.
How to Prove Non-Economic Damages
Proving non-economic damages often requires an expert to explain to a judge or jury why a plaintiff should receive a certain amount of compensation. For instance, imagine that you would like to be compensated for pain and suffering because of the injuries you received from a bus accident. A judge or a jury cannot feel your pain and suffering to determine how much they should compensate you for your pain and suffering. Rather, a medical expert may help explain to them you are suffering a certain level of pain based on a scale developed by experts. Of course, other ways to prove your pain and suffering would be to submit medical records, pictures of your injuries, and other relevant documentation. By gathering and documenting all of your expenses related to the accident, you will put yourself in a better position to accurately calculate the value of your bus accident settlement.
CONTACT A ZINDA LAW GROUP BUS ACCIDENT LAWYER
The experienced bus accident attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your personal injury claim. We know how to calculate the value of a bus accident settlement and fight for your legal rights. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.