When you have suffered a personal injury, your next steps are acquiring an attorney that you trust, and preparing for your personal injury claim. As the plaintiff, you are seeking compensation for the injury or loss that you experienced as a result of another party’s actions. So what types of compensation can the court offer you in the resolution of your claim? To break it down into two main categories, the court may offer either compensatory or punitive damages for a personal injury claim.
Compensatory damages are intended to “make the plaintiff whole.” These damages attempt to reimburse the plaintiff for his or her injuries or losses.
Compensatory damages can be broken down further into special damages and general damages. Special damages refer to financial burdens resulting from the circumstances. These might include medical bills, lost earnings, property damage or similar expenses. General damages refer to noneconomic burdens that must be compensated for, such as physical pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Some of the compensatory damages commonly awarded in personal injury claims include:
- Income – If the incident has an adverse effect on your salary, including both lost wages and loss of future earnings, you are entitled to this type of compensation.
- Medical Expenses – Any medical expenses that have been accrued as a result of the personal injury are subject to repayment. Testing, therapy, hospital stays, and home health care are a few of the eligible expenses.
- Pain and Suffering – Calculated by considerations such as financial loss and the treatment plan for your injuries, damages may be collected for your overall pain and suffering.
- Emotional Distress – Traumatic and other stress-related disorders experienced may be compensated.
- Wrongful Death – Family members of victims who have wrongfully deceased may file a personal injury claim. These damages seek to compensate the family on the victim’s behalf.
- Loss of Enjoyment – You may be entitled to receive “loss of enjoyment” damages, depending on the jurisdiction, when your injuries caused by the accident keep you from enjoying the day-to-day activities you enjoyed before the accident.
- Loss of Consortium – These damages attempt to remedy how your injuries have impacted your relationship with your spouse. In some states, consideration is also given to the impact between a parent and their child.
Rather than provide something to the plaintiff in compensation of the injury or loss, punitive damages exist to punish the defendant for egregious conduct. They are often in the form of excess economic damages paid to the plaintiff. This type of damages is typically reserved for situations where the defendant is found to have acted maliciously and willfully. Laws surrounding punitive damages vary by state and they are not offered in every circumstance.
Damages awarded by the court in your personal injury claim will depend on the specifics of the injury or loss suffered. Contact Attorney Travis J DeCosta today with any questions or if you need representation in your personal injury matter.