If youre considering filing a claim with an insurance company because youve been hurt (personal injury lawsuit) youre probably wondering how much your case is worth. Our civil justice system awards money (damages) to the person injured by making the party responsible for the injury (or their insurance company) pay the injured person for the harm caused. The dollar amount can be agreed on through a negotiated settlement or ordered by a judge or jury in a court trial.
Compensatory damages mean the injured person is intended to be compensated for what was lost due to the accident or injury. Some damages are easy to quantify in a monetary value but others like pain and suffering are much more difficult. Below is a list of common types of compensatory damages in personal injury cases.
Medical Treatment: A reimbursement for medical treatment the plaintiff has already received and estimated cost of future medical expenses because of the accident is almost always included in the case.
Income: The income you already lost and the income in the future you wont be able to make due to the accident are both types you are entitled to compensation.
Property Loss: If vehicles or any personal items were damaged from the accident, you can receive reimbursement for the fair market value of the property that was lost.
Pain and Suffering: This one is harder to monetize but you can receive compensation for pain and serious discomfort during the accident and afterward.
Emotional Distress: More common in serious accidents these damages are meant to compensate for psychological impact of an injury.
Loss of Enjoyment: If injuries from the accident prevent you from enjoying day-to-day activities like hobbies and exercise you may be able to receive compensation.
Loss of Consortium: These damages relate to the impact of injuries on the plaintiffs relationship with their spouse. Sometimes it can also include the relationship between a parent and child.
Punitive damages can be awarded on top of the compensatory damages. These damages are awarded to the plaintiff with the intent to punish the defendant for their behavior and hopefully prevent them from further hurting others. Punitive damages are only awarded when the bad behavior is particularly egregious, like drunk driving or hit and run accidents.
The plaintiffs actions can affect the damages compensated. If you were at fault for the accident that caused the injuries the comparative negligence can diminish the amount of damages available. Contributory negligence means you may not be able to recover compensation if you were partially to blame for the accident. Failure to mitigate or minimize damages and financial impact can cause the award to be reduced.
For more information about damages and personal injury cases contactDuBois Law Group