There are two major categories of damages in personal injury cases: Compensatory and Punitive. Compensatory are meant to compensate an injured plaintiff for the damages caused. Punitive are meant to punish the person(s) and other parties who are deemed responsible for the accident.
Here are the different types of Compensatory damages common in personal injury cases:
Medical – this will compensate you for the medical costs for treating your injuries and for any further treatment that may be required in the future.
Property loss – if anything was damaged or destroyed in the accident, you are entitled to reimbursement for repairs and the value of property that was lost.
Income – after most accidents you will miss some work; you may be entitled to not only payment for missed work, but also compensation for what you may have earned in the future.
Emotional distress – these damages are meant to compensate a person for the psychological impact of an injury.
Pain and suffering – you may be entitled to compensation for discomfort and pain you suffered in the accident and its aftermath; also for any ongoing pain attributed to the accident.
Loss of consortium – this is designed to relate to the impact the injuries have on the plaintiff’s relationship with their spouse. Some states also consider the impact on the relationship between a parent and child.
In such cases, money damages are paid to the injured person; figuring out what those damages are worth is a detailed and complicated process that can take a long time. A damage award may be agreed upon in a negotiated settlement between you and your attorney and the insurance company.
Punitive damages are usually awarded when the defendant’s conduct is judged to be especially egregious or reckless. Damages are awarded to the plaintiff, but this type of award is designed to punish the defendant.
If you have questions about a personal injury claim, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.