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The Different Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case

If you have been injured in an accident, you’ll no doubt suffer from a number of different losses. You might be forced out of work for a period of time so you can recover, losing out on the money you have made. You might also have to pay a large sum of money for medical bills that you accrue while seeking treatment. These are just two examples of “damages” that you might sustain as a result of an injury. Personal injury claims are lawsuits which seek to recover compensation for these damages and help negate some of the many burdens an injured party takes on as a result of an accident.

There are many different types of damages you can claim, but they primarily fall into two different categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages. On this blog, we’ll take a closer look at what each of them entails and help you better determine how much your case might be worth.

Compensatory Damages

The vast majority of damages in a personal injury claim fall into the category of compensatory damages. As the name suggests, these damages are meant to compensate the victim for the losses they have sustained. While many of these damages are easily quantifiable and have hard dollar amounts to them, many others do not, and determining the proper amount can be tricky. Therefore, there’s not really an easy answer as to how much your case is worth right from the outset, but by learning more about some of the various compensatory damages, you might be able to get a reasonable estimate.

Here are a few easily quantifiable damages sustained due to an accident:

  • Medical treatment: When you are seriously injured, you’ll likely need multiple visits to a doctor for continual treatment in order to help your injury heal. This will take time, and every visit will cost you money, not to mention you’ll have to pay for other things needed for your recovery, like medications or medical devices. These things can add up extremely quickly, and before you know it you could have a stack of bills totaling thousands of dollars.
  • Lost income: You may not lose your job because of your injury, but many employers don’t compensate their employees for the days they don’t work. Those who do will usually only cover a certain number of days. Once this time is used up, the income will stop rolling in. However, you can claim the number of hours you missed as a result of your injury as a damage suffered as a result of your injury, and you could be compensated for it.
  • Lost property: This is a fairly common damage suffered in car accidents. If you’re injured as a result of someone colliding with your vehicle, your vehicle also probably suffered some pretty major damage that will cost a lot to repair. Like your medical bills, you can also include these property losses in with the rest of your easily-quantifiable damages.

These damages are all fairly easy to add up: simply take all your bills sustained as a result of the accident and add them together. However, damages go far beyond this. You could also claim damages for the mental anguish you sustain, which doesn’t necessarily have a tangible number attached to it.

Some pain and suffering damages can include:

  • Emotional distress: Injuries also have a psychological impact, including fear, anxiety, lost sleep, and more. You can claim the suffering you experience from these mental damages.
  • Loss of enjoyment: Injuries can prevent you from enjoying things that once made you happy. If you lose your ability to take part in things like your mid-week bowling league or continue working on your creative hobby, you can claim “loss of enjoyment” damages.
  • Loss of consortium: Serious injuries can strain a relationship, and those who have their relationship seriously negatively impacted could claim “loss of consortium.” This is particularly true if the stress and anxiety associated with an injury leads to estrangement and eventual divorce.

Punitive Damages

Unlike compensatory damages which are designed to compensate someone for the losses they have sustained, punitive damages are rarely awarded and are a tool that the court can use to penalize a party who was grossly negligent in their conduct. For example, if a worker spends years working near exposed electrical lines and brings their concerns to their employer on multiple occasions, but the employer ignores the requests for better safety gear or a repair, the court will likely hold the company negligent if those electrical lines ever cause an injury to that employee. In these instances, the court may see it prudent to award punitive damages to the employee to punish the company that knowingly and willfully placed them in that risky situation in the first place.

Obtaining punitive damages is a fairly rare and difficult prospect, and it’s highly advised you have a Martin County personal injury lawyer on your side to help you fight for your rights.

Call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC today at 866-675-4427 to request a free case evaluation and start reviewing your rights and legal options when you wish to file a damages claim.