Put simply, damages are what you can recover monetary compensation for in a personal injury case. Your damages are your losses. Recovering damages are, more often than not, designed to make you whole again. They are intended to cover, as best as possible, that which the accident took away from you. There are several different subcategories that you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit.
There are two main types of damages involved in a personal injury lawsuit: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are supposed to make the accident victim get back to where they used to be. In other words, compensatory damages are intended to situate the accident victim in the position he or she would have been if the accident injury had never happened. Compensatory damages are further subdivided into two categories known as special damages and general damages.
Special damages compensate victims for monetary losses. They are referred to as “special” because they are unique to each individual victim. This means that special damages can vary greatly from one case to another. Special damages include:
- Medical care
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
General damages are not as easy to quantify as special damages as they are non-monetary losses. These are the emotional costs of living with an accident injury and going through the trauma of the accident. General damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
The other main category of damages, punitive damages, are different in that they are not intended to compensate the victim for losses sustained. The intent of punitive damages instead is to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior. This is why punitive damages are not available in many cases. The person who caused the accident must have acted in such an extremely reckless and dangerous way that the court finds their actions to be beyond reprehensible.
Your damage award in a personal injury claim or lawsuit will greatly depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. The severity of your injuries, the level of requisite medical treatment, and the impact your injuries had on your everyday life and your future will be the strongest determining factors in your damage award. In many cases, your personal injury claim can be resolved through negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Evidence of your injuries and the impact your injuries have had on your life are presented to the insurance company and a settlement amount is negotiated based on this information. Sometimes, however, an insurance company will refuse to offer a reasonable settlement offer on a claim. In these instances, you may wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to pursue full and fair compensation for your losses. The damage award will then be determined by a jury. If the jury finds in your favor and they calculate an award that is either too much or too little, the court may step in to increase or decrease the award amount.
The amount of damages you are awarded for your personal injury claim is so important to you and your financial future. Not only are accident injuries painful, but they can be extremely expensive. Medical bills pile up quickly. Get a dependable attorney by your side to fight for the compensation you deserve. We are ready to fight for you. Contact us today.