April 22, 2024 | Uncategorized

How are Personal Injury Settlements Calculated in Kentucky?

word writing text personal injury claimsLife can take sudden turns, and sometimes, those turns come in the form of a personal injury. If you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s negligence, the path to recovery can feel overwhelming. Beyond the physical and emotional toll, comes the financial burden of medical bills, lost wages, and altered future plans. This is where a skilled personal injury attorney can be your guide, helping you navigate the legal complexities and fight for fair compensation. But how exactly is that compensation calculated in Kentucky?

What Constitutes a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury law in Kentucky covers a wide array of incidents – from rear-end car accidents to slip and fall cases. Essentially, if you have been injured due to another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Kentucky law recognizes three major categories of damages in personal injury cases.

  1. Economic Damages

These are quantifiable financial losses resulting from the injury, such as:

  • Medical expenses: This includes past, present, and future medical bills related to your injury, like hospital stays, surgery, medication, and therapy. To calculate this, one must total all medical bills, including hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any anticipated future medical expenses. 

For example, if a rear-end accident victim incurs $30,000 in immediate medical costs and expects to spend an additional $20,000 on future treatments, the total claim for medical expenses would be $50,000.

  • Lost wages: Compensation for income you missed due to your injury, including missed workdays, reduced earning capacity, and lost opportunities. To calculate lost wages, one multiplies the victim’s daily wage by the number of workdays missed. Additionally, if the injury affects the victim’s ability to earn in the future (reduced earning capacity), this too can be quantified and added. 

For instance, if a victim earning $200 per day misses 50 days of work, the lost wages would be $10,000. If their earning capacity is reduced by 25% for the foreseeable future, this loss is also calculated in Kentucky and added to the claim.

  • Property damage: Reimbursement for any personal property damaged in the accident, such as your car or belongings.
  1. Non-Economic Damages

These are more subjective and include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Lexington personal injury lawyers often use various methods to quantify these damages, two primary methods are used to calculate non-economic damages in Kentucky:

  • Multiplier Method: This multiplies your economic damages by a factor ranging from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity of your injury and its impact on your life. A higher multiplier signifies more significant pain and suffering.

For example, consider a case handled by a personal injury attorney in Lexington where the victim incurred $50,000 in economic damages due to a rear-end car accident. If the injury was moderately severe, causing significant discomfort and a few months off work, a lawyer might use a multiplier of 3. This would result in non-economic damages of $150,000 ($50,000 x 3).

  • Per Diem Method: This assigns a daily dollar value to your pain and suffering, multiplied by the number of days you’ve been affected. The daily rate considers factors like the intensity of your pain, lifestyle limitations, and emotional distress.

For instance, a rear end accident attorney might argue that the victim should receive $200 per day for pain and suffering. If the victim suffered for 180 days, the total non-economic damages would be $36,000 (180 days x $200). This method is often used for injuries with a clear recovery timeline, as it allows for a tangible daily valuation of the suffering.

  1. Punitive Damages

In cases of egregious negligence, Kentucky law permits punitive damages, which are also calculated. These are not tied to the victim’s losses but are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are not directly related to the victim’s losses. Here’s how they are approached:

  • Severity and Nature of the Wrongdoing: The court assesses how egregious the defendant’s actions were. The more reckless or malicious the conduct, the higher the punitive damages could be.
  • Defendant’s Financial Status: Punitive damages are often influenced by the wrongdoer’s ability to pay. A wealthy defendant may face higher punitive damages as a means to ensure the punishment is meaningful.
  • Purpose of Punitive Damages: Since the aim is to punish and deter, the court considers what amount would be necessary to achieve this goal based on the specifics of the case.

Why Choose the Law Offices of Croley & Foley?

Dealing with a personal injury claim can be overwhelming. It’s not just about getting compensation; it’s about ensuring that the compensation is fair and just. The Law Offices of Croley & Foley, with their dedicated team of personal injury attorneys, bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table. If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t navigate this complex journey alone. Contact our medical malpractice lawyer for a consultation.