The Difference Between The Minimum And Maximum Financial Award

Effectively handling your claim for injuries following a car accident can make the difference between a minimum and maximum financial award for your loss. Getting you the monetary compensation you deserve is our focus. At the Boise, Idaho, personal injury law firm of Holzer Edwards, Chartered, John Edwards and Kurt Holzer share more than 50 years of personal injury law experience. When you have been in an auto collision, we are committed to fighting for your full and fair compensation.

The resolution of your car wreck claim is not a race. The law gives you only one chance to resolve your claim. If your car crash claim is resolved prematurely or without adequate preparation, your financial recovery could be less than you deserve. You want your collision attorney to be sure the settlement provides you the money you need. Because you are likely barred from collecting compensation for future medical conditions related to the damages in your accident and your personal injury.

To discuss your claim with a respected Boise auto accident lawyer, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Comprehensive Legal Services For Car Accident Victims

As Idaho accident injury attorneys, we provide full and comprehensive legal services aimed at fully addressing your legal needs. Following a car crash, we can:

  • Assist you through your treatment
  • Help coordinate your insurance benefits
  • Work to ensure your treatment, ambulance, hospitalization, physical therapy, home care and other expenses are paid
  • Pursue your maximum compensation from all applicable insurance coverage through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and/or litigation

Insurance coverage for car collisions and truck crashes can be extremely complex. Often, your own medical and auto insurance may be required to pay your initial expenses. Later, the other drivers' and other parties' insurance coverage may apply. Correctly coordinating these payments is a critical part of your injury claim. Good lawyers help take care of these issues and more.

Caring For You Regardless Of Your Injuries

We can handle your full claim regardless of your injuries, which may include:

  • Herniated disks and bulging disks
  • Back injury requiring surgery
  • Whiplash and neck injury
  • Quadriplegia, paraplegia and paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries
  • Low back pain and injury
  • Brain injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), open head injuries and closed head injuries
  • Headaches, vision changes, emotional problems and cognitive issues
  • Shoulder and neck injuries and pain
  • Broken bones and leg, arm, hand, feet and knee breaks
  • Radiating pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Numbness, tingling and shooting pain
  • Soft tissue injuries, and injuries to connective tissue, tendons and muscles
  • Wrongful death of a loved one

Getting You The Compensation You Deserve For Your Injuries

One of the most misunderstood aspects of car accident injury claims are the actual things that a person who hurts you is responsible to pay for. In most instances an injured person can recover damages (financial compensation) for the following basic categories of harms and losses.

Medical Expenses

As everyone who lives in a modern society knows, health care can be very expensive. Even if you have medical insurance or good medical coverage through an auto insurance policy, you may be charged thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for a lengthy hospital stay, a trip to a specialized care center or repeated doctor visits and physical therapy appointments. If you do not have medical insurance, these costs can quickly reach into five or six figures. For someone who has suffered a catastrophic injury or a permanent disability, lifelong medical treatment can cost millions of dollars.

In a personal injury claim, these medical expenses are part of the damages (financial compensation) you are entitled to claim. This is not limited to direct health care costs, but may extend to any medical expense, including prescriptions, medical devices and the cost of transportation to and from your doctor's office. Recovering your medical expenses is an essential element of your personal injury claim.

If your case involves a catastrophic injury, your lawyer will want to not only determine your existing medical costs, but also hire medical experts to determine the likely cost of your future medical treatment. In some cases, your law firm may need to hire an expert to develop a "life care plan" that predicts all of your future medical needs. This expert will evaluate your injuries, review your medical records and project the cost of future medical care.

Lost Income and Loss of Earning Capacity

If you are unable to work because of your injuries, you are entitled to claim the income you lose. In addition, if you have a disability that affects your future earning potential, you are also entitled to recover monetary damages for loss of the income you would otherwise have earned.

For example, let us say that you can no longer do the specific job you had at the time of the car accident or other injury, but you find a job within your physical limitations that pays less than your previous job. In this case, you would be entitled to recover not only the income you lost from the old job, but also any future income you lose because you had to take the lower-paying job. If you are self-employed and your injury makes you unable to do your job, you may need to hire someone to replace you. You may be entitled to compensation for the extra money you pay to that person during your recovery.

In addition to your lost income and loss of future earning capacity, you may be entitled to recover any loss of benefits, such as health insurance, pension plans, bonuses or other benefits directly associated with your employment. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you determine all of your financial losses so you can seek compensation for those losses. Your lawyer may need to hire experts, such as a vocational expert (an expert in work) or an economist. These experts will review your financial and medical records, then calculate and predict the economic losses you have suffered from the accident. If you are self-employed, you can prove your economic losses through tax returns and other business documents.

General or Non-Economic Damages—(Pain and Suffering)

Another part of your personal injury claim is the way your injuries affect your daily life — what is often referred to as your pain and suffering. It includes those elements but that does not capture the entire area of damages. Idaho law provides that you can recover noneconomic damages for

1."physical and mental pain and suffering, past and future";
2."impairment of abilities to perform usual activities";
3."disfigurement caused by the injuries"; and
4."aggravation caused to any preexisting condition."

These damages are different types of damages from those you would claim for your economic losses or physical injuries. For example, someone who suffers chronic pain after an injury is entitled to be compensated for that aspect of loss.

Physical pain is a sensation and suffering is a mood. Pain is the awareness, through a stimulus in the brain, of something that could damage your tissues and is followed by a feeling of discomfort or unpleasantness. By contrast, suffering is an emotion that could be considered the opposite of happiness or enjoyment, and involves cognitive awareness of an unpleasant situation, or a lack of the pleasure the victim could have expected had it not been for the injury. Suffering could involve many emotions, including depression, anxiety and humiliation. For example, suffering could be embarrassment and anxiety from a disfiguring facial injury, an amputation, incontinence, paralysis or another injury that severely limits the victim's life activities.

It is the job of an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you prove specifically how your injuries have affected your life and your family. The ultimate goal of a personal injury claim is to obtain the maximum possible compensation, so you may return to your life as it was before the accident. Although injuries make that impossible in some cases, you are entitled to seek compensation for every injury you suffer. Remember, our system is designed to fix the things that can be fixed, make better those things that can be made better and to make up for what can't be fixed or made better. It is the goal of a personal injury lawyer to help you obtain the fullest and fairest compensation permitted by the law.

Loss of Consortium

Idaho law also allows the spouse of an injured person to recover damages as well, even if the spouse was not injured. This is called a loss of consortium claim.

Black's Law Dictionary defines "consortium" as the "conjugal fellowship of husband and wife, and the right of each to the company, society, and cooperation, affection and aid of the other in every conjugal relation." Loss of consortium includes not only material services that you may lose because of a spouse's injury, but such intangibles as society, guidance, companionship and sexual relations. Usually, you should only make a loss of consortium claim when one spouse has been seriously injured, and that injury has had a direct negative effect on the marital relationship. Generally, you cannot make a loss of consortium claim if you are merely living with the injured person. A marital relationship, and sometimes a parent-child relationship, is essential to making a loss of consortium claim.

Sometimes, the non-injured spouse, at the direction of an experienced personal injury lawyer, can present compelling testimony at trial. This helps convince a jury that an accident has affected not only the marital relationship, but also the family. Juries sometimes empathize with the spouse who was not injured and better appreciate how the injuries have affected the marriage and the family.

But such damages are only available in compelling circumstances. After all "for better or worse" is expected to mean something. Only an experienced lawyer can help you determine whether you should add a loss of consortium claim to your personal injury claim.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation Today

The Idaho law firm you choose to handle your accident injury case makes a difference. Our Boise attorneys represent people in auto accidents all over Idaho. If you have questions following a car or truck accident and injuries, from herniated disks to brain injuries, call us locally at 208-297-7373 or toll free at 888-490-0992.