Friday, July 09, 2021

Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Accident

After being injured due to someone else’s negligent action, you might be thinking about filing a lawsuit against the other party to recover compensation. In personal injury cases, this compensation is referred to as damages. You have been experiencing first-hand the result of the accident and trying to recover your health while worrying about your financial situation and are ready to talk to a personal injury attorney about your case and the amount of damages it may be possible to recover. During the consultation, your lawyer may bring out terms such as economic, non-economic, or punitive damages. However, you may be feeling confused as to what these are and how they differ from each other.

Why are damages awarded?

The law describes damages as an amount intended to compensate the plaintiff for their losses and restore this individual to the same situation in which they found themselves before the accident and its accompanying injury.

Damages may be awarded in court, or they may be received through a settlement or mediation where both parties agree on a satisfactory amount after negotiating each item. Cases that are tried in court result in either the judge or jury calculating how much the plaintiff should be awarded, based on all evidence presented during the trial.

What are economic damages?

Economic damages are easy to calculate and attach a monetary value to. They start with medical expenses that arise as a result of the injury. Depending on the extent and severity of the injury, these may include hospitalization, ambulance rides, surgery, rehabilitation, doctor’s visits, prescription medication, medical devices, and more. If the injuries have not yet reached the point of maximum expected recovery, economic damages will also include future medical expenses.

If the injury prevents you from working, economic damages will include the wages you have lost now and in the future, as well as the cost to fix your car or replace it if you were in a car accident or other property that might have gotten damaged in different types of accidents.

What are non-economic damages?

Non-economic damages are much harder to quantify and include such items as pain and suffering and emotional distress. These items are related to how you feel after the accident and injury and how these feelings and emotions affect your life. The more severe the injury and the longer the time it will take you to recover from it, the higher the amount of non-economic damages you might be awarded.

What are punitive damages?

Punitive damages are not awarded in all personal injury cases. As their name implies, they are meant to punish the defendant for their extremely negligent actions that lead to the accident and injuries. Their purpose is to punish the person who caused your injuries, set an example to others, and discourage them from acting the same way. A judge or jury decides these.

Understanding every item that may be included in your damages and assigning value to each is best left to an experienced personal injury attorney. Attorney Timothy J. Ryan recommends that you start by setting up an initial consultation and talk to your lawyer about your case.
Image via Pixabay

This is a guest blog entry.

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