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Types Of Damages Pursuable In Personal Injury Cases

Personal Injury Lawyer

In a personal injury case, victims can pursue three main types of damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Each type of damage serves a different purpose and seeks to compensate the victim for specific losses resulting from the injury. The following is a brief overview of these types.

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also known as special damages, are quantifiable financial losses incurred by the victim due to the injury. These damages aim to reimburse the victim for the tangible costs associated with the accident. Common types of economic damages include:

  • Medical Expenses: Economic damages cover the costs of medical treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, doctor visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, and other necessary medical services.
  • Lost Wages: Victims can seek compensation for the income they have lost due to the inability to work while recovering from the injury. This includes both past lost wages from missed workdays and future lost wages if the injury results in a long-term or permanent disability affecting the victim’s earning capacity.
  • Property Damage: If the accident resulted in damage to the victim’s property, such as a vehicle in a car accident, the cost of repairing or replacing the property can be included in economic damages.
  • Home Modifications: If the victim’s home requires modifications to accommodate their injury or disability, such as wheelchair ramps or handrails, the cost of these modifications may also be claimed as economic damages.
  • Transportation Costs: Victims may seek reimbursement for the expenses incurred in traveling to and from medical appointments and therapy sessions related to their injuries.
  • Assistive Devices: Economic damages can cover the costs of necessary assistive devices or medical equipment, such as crutches, wheelchairs, or prosthetics.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, also referred to as general damages, are intangible losses that do not have a precise monetary value. These damages aim to compensate the victim for the emotional and subjective impact of the injury. Common types of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages include compensation for the physical pain, discomfort, and suffering experienced by the victim as a result of the injury.
  • Emotional Distress: Serious injuries can lead to emotional trauma, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and other psychological consequences. Non-economic damages may account for the emotional distress caused by the accident.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the injury significantly impairs the victim’s ability to participate in activities they once enjoyed, they may be entitled to compensation for the loss of life’s pleasures.
  • Loss of Consortium: This type of damage compensates the victim’s spouse or partner for the loss of companionship, affection, and support resulting from the injury.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, serve a different purpose than economic and non-economic damages. While the previous two types aim to compensate the victim for their losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for their reckless, malicious, or grossly negligent behavior. Punitive damages are relatively rare and are typically awarded when the defendant’s actions were especially egregious.

Courts may award punitive damages to deter the defendant and others from engaging in similar conduct in the future. The amount of punitive damages is often determined based on the severity of the defendant’s misconduct and their financial means.

It’s important to note that not all personal injury cases involve punitive damages. These damages are more commonly awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or when the defendant acted with intentional harm or a reckless disregard for the safety of others.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by another party, it is important to seek the legal help of a seasoned personal injury lawyer in order to explore all of your legal options.

Thank you to our friends at Hall-Justice Law Firm LLC for their insight into personal injury claims.