When you suffer injuries or lose a loved one as a result of someone else’s careless behavior or reckless conduct, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. Although money cannot truly compensate for physical and emotional trauma or pain and suffering endured for a lifetime, our system of civil justice uses money to compensate the injured. Verdicts awarding financial compensation can also serve as important deterrents to prevent similar conduct in the future. If the responsible parties are not held accountable, they may never fully understand the consequences their victims have suffered because of the careless or reckless conduct.
At Fales & Fales, P.A., we represent clients who have suffered losses as a result of:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Dog bites
- Prescription drug errors
- Ski accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Toxic mold
Here is an overview of the categories of compensation available to accident victims in Maine.
Damages Available to Victims of Personal Injuries
As a general rule, if you have been injured in an accident that is primarily someone else’s fault, the law entitles you to recover damages for your losses. Depending on the case, resolution may come through an insurance settlement, or, may only come after knock-down, drag-out litigation in court. In either scenario, these are the main categories of damages you may be entitled to recover:
- Medical bills – These include your medical expenses and prescription costs through the date of settlement or verdict.
- Future medical expenses – These are anticipated future medical expenses relating to the injuries you suffered in the accident.
- Lost income – If you missed time from work because you were in the hospital or too injured to work, you can recover the wages you would have earned had the accident not occurred.
- Lost future earning capacity – If your injuries will prevent you from returning to work or will require you to change occupations and thereby earn less, you are entitled to be made whole on the difference in your future income.
- Property damage – This includes car repair bills and replacement costs for phones, tablets, laptops, jewelry, and other items of personal property.
- Pain and suffering – Along with your economic losses measurable in dollars and cents, you are also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering and for the loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are often the most contentious issues in personal injury litigation, because judges and juries have broad discretion to award the amount they think is fair.
- Cost of household help – If your injuries prevent you from performing your normal routine, you may be entitled to reimbursement for costs incurred to hire help.
In Cases Involving Wrongful Death
Maine statutes allow the family members of fatal accident victims to bring two types of claims: survival claims and claims for wrongful death. In a survival claim, the estate of the victim can pursue any damages that the victim would have been entitled to recover had he or she survived the accident. Survival claims generally involve some or all of the categories of damages listed above for the time the victim suffered after the accident up until the time of death.
In a wrongful death action, the victim’s family members seek compensation for their own losses suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. These damages may include pecuniary damages of the family members as well as:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of society, comfort, and companionship
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Loss of society and emotional distress are categorized as “non-pecuniary” damages under Maine law. This is significant because the law imposes a cap on non-pecuniary damages. Punitive damages are also capped in wrongful death cases.
Next Steps for Seeking Compensation
Ultimately, the damages available in your case will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of the accident, the parties involved, and the scope of the losses. If you believe you may have a claim for compensation, an experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a viable claim for damages.
For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation, call (888) 526-9408 or contact Fales & Fales, P.A. online today. We represent clients in areas including the Androscoggin Valley, Auburn, Lewiston, and Central Maine.