Types of Compensation in Personal Injury Cases
When you are injured in an accident, if you can prove that the accident was the result of the negligence of another, you will likely receive compensation, which is referred to as damages. The amount of damages required to fairly compensate you would need to be agreed on by both parties, pursuant to a settlement agreement, or the matter would need to be litigated, and the damages set by a judge or jury. There are two general categories of damages: compensatory and punitive. These can be broken down into smaller categories, depending on what happened during your accident. Keep reading to learn more about the types of compensation you could receive in personal injury cases:
Compensatory damages are meant to compensate you for losses that are connected to your accident. These kinds of damages can be broken down into two major categories known as economic and noneconomic damages. We will discuss what kind of damages fit into each category below.
Economic damages are monetary losses due to your accident that can be easily and precisely calculated. One of the primary economic damages that people are compensated for is medical expenses. These include prescription costs, emergency room bills, surgery expenses, costs of various medical procedures, and more. Not only can you receive compensation for past medical expenses, but in some cases, you can also receive it for future medical expenses, if your injuries or disabilities are determined by a medical doctor to require future treatment.
Another economic damage people are commonly entitled to receive compensation for is loss of wages. If you can prove that you were injured to the point you could not work, due to the negligence of another, you will be reimbursed for the time you weren’t able to work. Just like with medical expenses, although rare, you can be compensated for future loss of wages due to injuries or a disability, if the medical proof shows that you will more likely than not suffer such damages in the future.
Property damages also fall into the category of economic damages. If you are in a car accident and your vehicle is damaged or totaled, due to the negligence of another, then you can seek to force the other party to pay for the necessary repairs, or if the vehicle is totaled then to pay you the fair market value of your vehicle.
When you have a personal injury case, you can also be compensated for noneconomic damages. These are designed to compensate you for non-monetary consequences that resulted from your accident. These kinds of damages can be very hard to prove, but following your attorney’s advice will help ensure you get the best result possible.
The biggest, and certainly most widely known, subcategory of noneconomic damages is pain and suffering. These damages are related to, but separate from, your medical expenses, which do not take into account the pain and suffering you endured as a result of your accident. Lawyers, insurance companies, judges, and juries have to rely on certain factors to determine the monetary value of your pain and suffering. These include the type of injury, type and cost of medication required, length of recovery and treatment required and the presence or absence of permanence of the injury.
Emotional distress, also known as mental anguish, is another factor you might can be compensated for, but such damages are generally regarded as the hardest to prove, and are usually reserved for the most severe of injuries. Emotional distress is also awarded in wrongful death cases, subsequent to the loss of a loved one.
If you or a family member are injured or killed during an accident, then your list of recoverable damages may include compensation for loss of consortium. This is defined as the loss of love, affection, companionship, or comfort due to the negligent action of the liable party. These kinds of damages are usually awarded only in a case with a devastating injury or wrongful death.
The second major category of damages in a personal injury case is punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the liable party for their actions and to deter others from similar offensive conduct in the future. The liable party may be a large corporation, high-profile entity or just another average person. Punitive damages are usually only awarded where the liable party’s actions were intentional or reckless.
We hope that learning more about the types of compensation you could receive in personal injury cases is helpful to your case. If you have a personal injury case and want to discuss compensation, contact one of our personal injury lawyers today.