Important Legal Disclaimer: These dollar values are from past results and do not guarantee or suggest that your matter will have a similar outcome. The facts and circumstances which led to your injury are likely to be different, and an attorney can provide specific guidance only after engaging in a fact-intensive analysis. Furthermore, the worth of your personal injury case will ultimately be decided by a jury.
Car accidents, defective products, severe burns, slip and fall accidents, industrial accidents, and medical malpractice are all common causes of facial injuries, such as lacerations, broken noses, broken jaws, broken teeth, eye injuries, and skull fractures. Not only are facial injuries painful and costly to treat, often requiring corrective plastic surgery – they can also cause tremendous anxiety, depression, and emotional distress. Children and teenagers are especially susceptible to being bullied or developing low self-esteem because of scarring and disfigurement, which can cause their performance at school to suffer.
The personal injury lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook have assembled this short legal guide to help educate injury victims and their loved ones about the basic financial components of a civil lawsuit. It covers different types of compensation, Oklahoma’s limits on compensation, and a legal deadline called the statute of limitations. It also provides some examples of verdicts and settlements from facial injury cases around the United States. If you have any questions about getting compensated for a personal injury, call our attorneys at (405) 698-3040 for a free and private legal consultation.
How Much Compensation Can a Plaintiff Be Awarded in Oklahoma?
In order to understand Oklahoma’s limits on compensation, which are known as damages caps, it is first necessary to understand the distinctions between different types of compensation, which include:
- Punitive Damages – Punitive or exemplary damages are not awarded in every case. They are only awarded in cases where the defendant engaged in gross misconduct. As the term suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish and deter.
- Compensatory Damages – Compensatory damages are intended solely to compensate the plaintiff.
- Economic Damages – Economic damages are damages which can be readily calculated, such as present and projected medical bills and lost income.
- Non-Economic Damages – Non-economic damages are damages which cannot be readily calculated, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages are subject to several different caps, which are provided by state law under O.S. § 23-9.1 as follows:
- $100,000 in cases where the defendant showed “reckless disregard for the rights of others.”
- $500,000 in cases where the defendant “acted intentionally and with malice.”
- No cap in cases where the defendant “acted intentionally and with malice and engaged in conduct life-threatening to humans.”
Compensation may be obtained through a:
- Settlement – Settlements are out-of-court agreements between the plaintiff and the defendant’s insurance company. They may occur just before a trial is scheduled to take place, or many months in advance of a scheduled trial. Either party may make a settlement offer, which may then be accepted, refused, or met with a counter-offer. Sometimes, the results of a settlement must be kept confidential.
- Verdict – A verdict is awarded by a neutral jury following a trial, based on the facts which are presented, similar to what would occur in a criminal case. Unlike a settlement, which seeks to find a mutually acceptable solution which both parties are willing to accommodate, the defendant has no control over the ultimate size of the verdict. Verdicts are less common than settlements.
Verdicts and Settlements in Facial Injury Cases
Before we discuss any verdicts or settlements, we’d like to reiterate the legal disclaimer posted at the top of this page. The verdicts and settlements described below are not intended to promise or guarantee similar results from each and every facial injury case. We have shared them here solely for informational and educational purposes. Your legal matter may produce different results, as each case inevitably depends on how and why the underlying accident occurred.
- $4.85 million settlement for an Illinois carpenter who was trapped beneath a collapsing fish tank. The man also sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and torn rotator cuff injury.
- $1.05 million verdict awarded to a 32-year old Florida man who was hit in the face with a glass during a bar fight.
- $1 million settlement for a California plaintiff who suffered back and face injuries.
- $645,000 settlement for a 22-year-old Illinois pedestrian who was hit by a taxi while waiting outside of a restaurant. The pedestrian also fractured her left knee.
- $450,000 settlement for a 13-year-old Minnesota boy who was burned in a basement fire.
- $425,000 verdict awarded to a 27-year-old Illinois man whose car was struck by a detached trailer. The man developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the accident.
- $375,000 settlement for a Minnesota woman who was bit in the face by a dog.
- $310,000 settlement for a North Carolina plaintiff who was in a collision with a vehicle that ran a red light.
- $300,000 settlement for a Virginia man who was hit by a van.
- $100,000 settlement for a 27-year-old Minnesota woman who was rear-ended by another driver.
- $93,000 verdict awarded to an 11-year-old South Carolina boy who was cut by falling glass after a car accident.
- $75,000 settlement for a 20-year-old Massachusetts man whose face was accidentally scratched by a dog that jumped into a pool.
- $5,000 verdict awarded to a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who was riding in a van that was struck by another vehicle.
Is There a Legal Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit?
Unfortunately, accident victims are not free to file lawsuits whenever they wish. You must file your lawsuit before a deadline known as the statute of limitations, which differs from state to state and case type to case type. The Oklahoma statute of limitations on personal injury cases is two years, beginning from the date the injury was sustained. If the statute of limitations “expires,” or runs out of time, the case will be prevented from progressing in court, which means you will lose your opportunity to gain both closure and compensation.
Don’t Hesitate to Speak With an Experienced Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer
Even if you aren’t quite sure whether you’re ready to file a lawsuit, we strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the sooner you will be able to make an informed decision about whether you would like to file a lawsuit. If you procrastinate for too long without making a decision, the opportunity to take legal action may pass you by forever.
Don’t wait until it’s already too late. Call the attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 to schedule a free, private consultation. Our line is always open for your call, including nights and weekends.