Types of Compensation in Personal Injury Cases

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Written By Tabrez Ahemad

Before you begin a personal injury claim, you must understand the types of compensation you are fighting for. There are two primary types of personal injury compensation damages: punitive damages and compensatory damages. 

Compensatory damages aim at reimbursing you for the costs that resulted from the injury. Nearly all personal injury cases award compensatory damages. On the other hand, punitive damages punish the party at fault for causing the harm they inflicted on you. Punitive damages are not related or tied to the type of injuries sustained, and they do not come up as frequently as compensatory damages.

Compensatory and punitive damages are the overarching umbrellas to the other kinds of compensation you could receive. However, for personal injury compensation, it depends on the nature of your case. 

Types of Compensatory Damages

Nearly all personal injury claims aim at recovering compensatory damages for the victims. Therefore, always inquire from a personal injury attorney before ruling out your chance at gaining compensation. Here are the various types of compensatory damages.

Special Compensatory Damages

Special compensatory damages, often referred to as economic damages, include the quantifiable expenses catered for out-of-pocket expenses. In simpler terms, when you receive these damages, they come as reimbursement for anything you had to pay for or any income you lost due to the accident. Examples of the economic damages include the following:

Medical Expenses

When intending to sue for personal injury, you must keep track of the receipts, bills, and documentation associated with the medical treatment. From the hospital stay bills to the cost of a prescription, and even any related nursing needed.

Damaged Property

This would apply to costs associated with the repair or replacement of personal property.

Lost Wages

This applies to compensation for lost wages or loss of your earning capacity, whether past or future. This kind of compensation is specific to wages lost due to injury until the day of trial. The award extends to future wages your injury will bar you from earning.

Loss of an Irreplaceable Item

An example of this could be an award given when an irreplaceable item, like a family heirloom, got damaged or destroyed during the event that caused your injury. You may receive compensation above the item’s initial value.

Expenses for Changes to Plans

This would include damages for expenses associated with trips you had to alter or cancel due to the injury, for example. This could also include changes to your educational plans and future potential earnings by no longer being able to pursue your career path.

General Compensatory Damages

General compensatory damages address the costs that aren’t quite quantifiable, also known as non-economic damages. The following are examples of general damages you can claim:

Pain and Suffering

Some injuries may result in long-term physical pain; sometimes, a claimant may suffer emotional distress and mental anguish that ranges from insomnia, depression, or even PTSD.

Lower Quality of Life 

Unfortunately, most victims of personal injury aren’t able to enjoy life as they did before. For example, this kind of compensation is often awarded to claimants that suffered an amputation or paralysis, or those now requiring home care.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Such damages apply to victims that can no longer take part in activities that previously gave them joy, such as participating in their children’s lives actively. The damages may also apply to victims that suffered a loss of companionship or consortium. Physical impairment and inconvenience may also get awarded damages.

Wrongful Death Damages

Wrongful death damages include a combination of special and general compensatory damages. Usually, the dependents of the victim collect these damages. Some of the damages awarded may include funeral costs, medical care before burial, and consortium loss

An excellent personal injury attorney such as Kohan & Bablove will help you get damages for the loss of the deceased’s financial contribution and damages for the emotional distress and mental anguish suffered as a result of the loss.

Punitive Damages

As previously mentioned, the awarding of punitive damages does not aim at compensating you for your losses. Punitive damages are a punishment that the court demands from the party at fault when they feel like the number of compensatory damages awarded to the claimant is insufficient to deter the responsible party from repeating their ‘mistake.’

Claim Compensation for Your Injury Claim

Before proceeding to court, the first step in personal injury cases is often a negotiation for settlement with the party at fault or their insurance company. If you are unaware of all the possible compensatory damages you deserve, you will likely settle for an amount that is way less than what you deserve.

Types of damages awarded are extensive. Therefore, even after noting the damages, you feel you deserve, you must speak with an attorney to do a proper evaluation for you per your case. If the settlement offer does not reach the worth of your justifiable damage, remember it is always an option to proceed and claim in court.

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