What Types of Damages are Awarded in a Personal Injury Settlement?
“Damages” in a personal injury case refer to the financial compensation that a plaintiff is entitled to after an accident. Damages are meant to make a plaintiff ‘whole’ – or get them as close as possible to where they were financially, physically, and emotionally before the accident or incident. Sometimes, depending on the severity of […]
“Damages” in a personal injury case refer to the financial compensation that a plaintiff is entitled to after an accident. Damages are meant to make a plaintiff ‘whole’ – or get them as close as possible to where they were financially, physically, and emotionally before the accident or incident. Sometimes, depending on the severity of the accident and subsequent injury/injuries, a full recovery and return to ‘wholeness’ may not be possible. When this happens, the court will often assign a monetary reward based on a number of factors such as:
Medical expenses are the most common form of damages that are awarded to a plaintiff after a personal injury. Whether the injury is as minor as a few small scrapes or as major as a permanent disability, the medical expenses incurred by the plaintiff are the responsibility of the party determined to be at fault. Sometimes, injuries may take some time to become apparent. It’s important to check the statute of limitations for your state to determine how long you have to file a claim. It’s also a good idea to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident to ensure that you don’t inadvertently sign away your rights, should you choose to file a claim later.
Pain and Suffering
Any mental and physical distress that a plaintiff endures after a personal injury are legally referred to as “Pain and Suffering”. Pain and Suffering compensation may vary based on both the severity of the injury and the jurisdiction in which one is seeking damages. In some states, a jury may award damages to a plaintiff preemptively, since it’s assumed that a bodily injury will always cause a certain amount of pain and suffering. In other states, a specific amount of time must have passed so that the plaintiff may prove that pain and suffering have taken place as a result of the injury.
Emotional distress is common after an accident. In court, emotional distress often falls under the umbrella of Pain and Suffering. Emotional distress is often a byproduct of the physical pain that results from an accident, and may include (but is not limited to) PTSD, mental anguish, depression, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, mood swings, shock, anxiety, fear, anger, or humiliation. It’s difficult to assign a monetary value to mental hardship, but juries are often instructed to use their best judgment and common sense when determining damages based on emotional distress.
Loss of Enjoyment
In some states, a jury may award damages based on a general loss of enjoyment of life. Each plaintiff’s situation will vary, and damages will be based on the plaintiff’s lifestyle before and after the accident. If an injury prevents a plaintiff from enjoying the hobbies, recreational endeavors, and activities they used to enjoy, they may be eligible for compensation.
Any injury that requires medical attention will often result in lost wages. Physical therapy, doctors appointments, and time spent in the hospital add up. The at-fault party is responsible for any missed work that results from a plaintiff’s injury. If a plaintiff is able to prove that an accident has diminished their future earning potential as well as past lost wages, they may be eligible for damages that cover a loss of income in the future. A jury will take the plaintiff’s age, occupation, skills, and experience into consideration when determining a fair compensation for future loss of wages.
Any damage to vehicles, clothing, or other personal items that resulted from the accident are considered property loss. The party at fault is responsible for paying for any repairs or replacement of damaged property. If a car is totaled or an item is considered irreparable, fair market price will be used to determine the amount of compensation.
Loss of Consortium
Often, when an accident results in personal injury, the victim isn’t the only one who suffers. Family members of the plaintiff may be eligible to receive damages based on the loss of affection or companionship caused by the accident or incident. Loss of consortium includes sexual relations between a married couple, but in some states the strain on relationships between parents and children is also taken into account. Family members may receive Loss of Consortium compensation only if the plaintiff receives damages for their injuries.
These are just a few of the most common types of damages that you may be entitled to if you’ve suffered a personal injury. Each case is different, so it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced attorney who can help you navigate your options and ultimately get the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you know has been injured, and you would like more information about your options, please contact The Bourassa Law Group at 702.851.2180 for a free consultation.