FAQ on Personal Injury

What is a personal injury claim?
  • Personal injury cases arise from such a wide range of circumstances that it’s impossible to list them all here. Some of the most common are car accidents, slip and fall injuries, motorcycle accidents, and work injuries, but any time someone is harmed by the fault of another person or company, there might be the potential for a personal injury claim. In fact, personal injury lawyers often handle negligence claims that don’t actually involve physical injuries at all – negligent destruction of property, for instance. A personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you whether or not you might have a personal injury case.
  • There are a few main things a claimant must prove in order to recover in a personal injury case: that you suffered damages, that the defendant was negligent, and that the defendant’s negligence caused your damages.
How much can I receive for my personal injury claim?
  • A number of factors figure into the monetary value of your personal injury claim. For instance, the value of your case is impacted by the nature and extent of your injuries; the amount of your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other financial losses; pain and suffering; and present and future disability. Even when those factors are considered, there are significant variations in the value of a personal injury claim based on the amount of insurance involved or the assets of the defendant, any partial fault on the part of the injured person, the victim’s willingness/ability to invest a long period of time in litigating the claim versus the need for a relatively quick settlement, and more. Assessing the value of your personal injury case isn’t an exact science, and your personal injury attorney won’t be able to give you a definite value up front. However, a personal injury lawyer can weigh the various factors to give you an overall picture of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
What is a structured settlement?
  • It is an agreement between an insurance company and the claimant, where the claimant does not receive the net proceeds immediately. Instead the proceeds are paid either on a monthly basis or are delayed, i.e, payments may begin 10 years from the date of the structured settlement agreement.
Can I reserve medicals?
  • Reserving medicals means the insurance company agrees to pay you medical expenses for a certain period of time, i.e. for 5 years. In workers’ compensation cases, it is not unusual to receive this in a total compromise and settlement with either a Medicare Set-Aside or a reservation of medicals. In personal injury cases, reserving medicals rarely occurs.
What is the difference between compensatory and punitive damages?
  • Compensatory damages are damages meant to compensate. They pay you back for your actual losses. The purpose of compensatory damages is to put you as nearly as possible back in the position you would have been had the defendant’s negligence not occurred.
  • Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish the defendant and to discourage others from engaging in the kind of negligence involved in your case. An award of punitive damages typically requires a showing of something more than mere negligence.
Do I pay income tax on money received from a personal injury settlement?
  • No you do not pay income tax on settlements and on total compromises; however in actions regarding employment, any proceeds are taxed because the belief is that you are suing for your salary or income.

CALL the LAW OFFICE OF FREDRIC G. ANTENBERG for more information!