New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Can You Claim Compensation for Minor Damages
Posted on Jun 15, 2015 in Personal Injury FAQs
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, the injuries and losses you have suffered should be significant or permanent. For instance, people who have suffered serious injuries in the recent Amtrak derailment accident have a strong case, and they are most likely to recover reasonable compensation. However, payouts to all victims put together cannot be more than $200 million but this is still a large pie to contemplate nonetheless.
In fact, according to experts this capped amount is not going to be enough to cover even the economic damages of all the victims. But according to other people, be thankful you are American if you were in this wreck because in other countries the amount you would be able to slice and dice from would be even less. Up to now, there have been eight deaths, and around 200 injured. While most have suffered medium to serious injuries, a few might have suffered minor injuries such as small cuts and bruises.
Do not Forget Psychological Trauma as Well
It does not matter if you injury was light weight, you are still entitled to some off the large money pie and you should have your medical injuries paid for. Make sure you put your name on the class action list.
In personal injury cases, liability, causation, and damages are three important components. In this Amtrak derailment, liability of the rail company seems to be quite clear, and there will not be any problems proving it in court. Causation means the train crash should be the direct cause of the injuries suffered. If the victims had previous injuries or if they were already suffering from some serious health problem, then the attorneys will have a hard time proving how much damage was actually caused by the accident.
The third component is damages, which means the victim should have suffered significant or permanent injuries. Therefore, people with minor cuts and bruises will not be eligible for any compensation. However, this many not be the case in all personal injury lawsuits. For instance, a pharmaceutical company might be making a particular medicine that may cause headaches or some other minor symptoms. There might be hundreds of people taking this type of medicine and suffering minor injuries.
All Injuries Matter
In such cases, even though the amount of damages may be paltry, the victims can still claim damages by filing a class action lawsuit. One of the victims or a group of victims can file such a lawsuit on behalf of all the victims. Suppose you are a victim that has suffered damages amounting to $150, for instance, you and anyone who signs their name on the list can still be compensated for this amount, if your group wins the class action lawsuit.
In case of an Amtrak crash, most victims have suffered significant and permanent injuries, but there will be some who have suffered minor injuries. Everyone has suffered psychologically, as already mentioned, and you should discuss your situation with an attorney.
Your Decision to Make
At the same time, if you came through the crash relatively unscathed, then you may not want to get involved with this case because it could be time consuming.
Secondly, according to a law passed in 1997, there is a cap of $200 million on damages. This means that if Amtrak is held liable for the crash, the company will know that this much money is in jeopardy and this does not even count the loss of the train itself. Even if the jury passes a larger verdict for the victims, this will be the most money Amtrak will have to sacrifice. This is just a fact because America has seen too many rainmaking juries and that is why this law was put in place years ago.