Is it Possible to Seek Compensation for the Same Injury Twice? Exploring the Legal Aspects
September 6, 2023
Are you wondering what is the legal recourse for double compensation for the same injury? The laws for such a scenario are complicated as several factors need to be considered to answer this question. Any serious injury can have a major impact on the victim’s life, including their financial situation and ability to perform everyday tasks. Understanding the laws that govern personal injury claims and lawsuits can help you have a better understanding of how the personal injury claim system works and in what situations you can seek double compensation for the same injury.
Legal Aspects of Double Compensation
Double recovery in the legal framework refers to a situation when a party receives more than the maximum compensation they are entitled to for damages they have suffered in a single loss or injury. For example, if someone got injured in an auto accident and received full compensation from their insurance company, they cannot sue the other driver to receive additional compensation for this same injury. This would be considered as double recovery or duplicate injury compensation.
The court can also award double compensation for injury if the plaintiff pursues the claim through two different types of legal channels. For example, if the plaintiff sues for breach of contract and also for gross negligence, they can receive compensation for both claims, even though they are for the same injury. This could be considered as a case of double recovery and is typically not allowed as it is unfair and unethical to receive additional compensation for the same injury. Many insurance providers make it a point to include double recovery clauses in the contracts to ensure their policies prevent policyholders from getting additional compensation for the same injury.
While compensatory damages are awarded to victims that suffered due to the misconduct, wrongdoing, or negligence of another party. However, it is illegal to use compensatory damages as a means to make a profit or to get additional compensation for the same injury.
Are There Any Exceptions?
The legal restrictions on double recovery for the same injury are well established; however, there are some exceptions.
Different Liable Parties
In a situation where there are several liable parties, it might be possible to seek additional compensation for the same injuries. This is only possible when more than one party shares liability for the injury. For example, in a medical malpractice case, the hospital and the healthcare professional can both be liable for the injuries suffered by the patient. It might be permissible for the patient to receive separate compensation from each party for their injuries; however, there should be no overlapping compensation claims. The claim against the hospital could be related to faulty equipment, while the claim against the healthcare professional could be related to unsafe procedures for surgery.
Similarly, if an accident happens as a result of faulty vehicle components and the reckless driving of another driver, then the victim can sue the vehicle manufacturer and the other driver in separate personal injury claims for the same injury.
Insurance Coverage Exhaustion
Another exception is that if a person got injured in an accident and their insurance company did not offer enough coverage for all the damages, then the person can seek additional injury reimbursement from the insurance company of the other driver. The scenario of exhaustion of insurance compensation limits is common in accidents with underinsured or uninsured drivers.
Injury Severity and Compensation
What happens if the injury requires more ongoing treatment than expected? Can multiple injury claims be filed? Generally, the rule is that once you agree to the accident settlement, you cannot pursue additional compensation from the same party. This is why it is critical to consider the possibility of injury aggravation and long-term care when seeking compensation for your injury and agreeing to a settlement. Ideally, you want to work with an experienced lawyer to determine the full value of your future medical expenses and include that amount in your claim.
Settlements generally include clauses that protect the defendant from any future liability for the injury. However, you can consult with an attorney to determine if you have a case. If something new was discovered about your injury or there is a medical reason why doctors could not have predicted your injury will get worse or take longer to recover, you may have a case to file for additional compensation.
Fraud or Bad Faith
Another case where you might be able to seek additional compensation for the same injury is if you prove that the defendant engaged in bad faith or fraud in your initial settlement. It will be challenging for you to prove the suspected fraud or bad faith, but if you have evidence and an experienced attorney on your side, you could have a strong case.
How to Ensure You Get Maximum Compensation?
You have a much better chance of getting maximum compensation in your initial personal injury claim or lawsuit. Once you have agreed to a settlement, it will be challenging to get additional compensation. The need for additional compensation often arises when future medical expenses or the cost of lifestyle modifications are not fully included in the initial claim. It is common for plaintiffs to only focus on short-term expenses, and as a result, they might not get the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
Future medical expenses include assistive equipment such as wheelchairs, in-home care, transportation to medical procedures, rehabilitation, physical therapy, follow-up treatments or appointments, and prescription costs. In some cases, modification might be needed to the home or vehicle to incorporate new injuries. All these future medical expenses need to be considered and included in your personal injury calculations.
Calculation of Future Expenses
As it is difficult to receive additional compensation for the same injury, you should try to include all future expenses in your initial claim. Due to the possibility of injury aggravation or difficulty in determining the future cost of medical expenses, many experienced personal injury lawyers recommend that victims wait until they are fully recovered before they seek compensation. Of course, some injuries can take longer to fully heal or may never fully heal, so it is not always practical to wait. However, the longer you can wait, the greater the chance of getting full and fair compensation for the injuries.
For some injuries, it may not be possible to determine how long it will take to recover from the injuries or whether the injury will be aggravated when the victim returns to everyday life. In some personal injury cases, the opinion of medical experts is key to determining the cost of future expenses related to the injury.
Some of the factors that should be assessed when deciding on future medical expenses include the effectiveness of ongoing treatment, the expected treatment needed over the course of the lifetime based on the age and life expectancy of the victim, and whether alternative treatment options exist.
Types of Damages Available in Georgia Personal Injury Cases
If you or your loved one got injured due to someone’s negligence, wrongdoing, or misconduct, you can seek economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages through injury settlements or court verdict.
Economic damages refer to the financial losses as a result of the injury. For example, if you got into an auto accident, you can seek damages for vehicle damages, medical bills, lost wages, and other economic expenses.
Noneconomic damages are related to the pain and suffering of the victim. For example, you can seek expenses for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, mental distress, or depression as a result of the injury.
Punitive damages are awarded to punish the liable party for their willful misconduct, gross negligence or egregious behavior. In the state of Georgia, punitive damages are capped at $250,000. It is important to note that it is often challenging to receive punitive damages in personal injury claims.
Seek Legal Consultation for Double Compensation
When accidents occur, victims can suffer life-altering injuries. It is their right to seek compensation for their suffering as a result of someone else’s fault. Unfortunately, victims often rush through the compensation claims process or settle for an unreasonably low amount only to regret the decision in the future. While getting compensation twice for the same injury may be possible in some situations, it is often challenging. To avoid such a situation, you should seek expert legal guidance on personal injury claims or lawsuits. You are welcome to get in touch with us at The Pendergrass Law Firm to schedule an appointment with our personal injury lawyer Brookhaven.
We recommend you contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation. Whether you are seeking to file a personal injury claim or want legal consultation for double compensation, we can assess your case to check your compensation eligibility. There are laws for legal protections for injured individuals. We can’t guarantee outcomes, but we can guarantee that our personal injury lawyer will be fighting for what you are entitled to. Our practice areas include all types of motor accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, dog bites, wrongful death, product liability, and slip-and-fall accidents. We can also help you with compensation calculation based on your injury compensation rights and help you in avoiding compensation duplication.