If you have recently been in an accident that was someone else’s fault and incurred serious injuries because of it, you may be eligible for compensation for your losses. Whoever contributed to the accident or caused it in full may be required to pay you for your pain and suffering and financial losses.
This payment is generally monetary, and in personal injury law, it is called damages. You might also hear damages referred to as compensation for the harm caused by the at-fault party in the accident.
If you bring a case to court in request for compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party, you are doing what is called suing for damages. In this case, you would be the plaintiff, and the person or party who you are suing would be the defendant. There are two general types of damages that might be awarded in a personal injury case: compensatory and punitive. Within these two categories, there are other sub-categories as well.
In general, compensatory damages aim to compensate or reimburse the party who was injured for their injury expenses. There are three main types of compensatory damages, special compensatory damages, general compensatory damages and wrongful death damages.
1. Special compensatory damages
This compensation may come from a case in which the plaintiff was injured through medical malpractice, a slip and fall accident or an auto or bike accident. Damages from these cases include funds to compensate for loss of wages and loss of future employment, coverage for medical bills and future health care, expenses from household and other expenses meant to cover altered or cancelled plans.
2. General compensatory damages
General compensatory damages are awarded for non-financially related damages. These damages are almost always avoided in an injury because they are to be expected. The most usual types of general compensatory damages include compensation for mental anguish, pain and suffering and loss of companionship or consortium.
3. Wrongful death damages
Within personal injury law, wrongful death cases are also included as personal injury cases. In these cases, a close family member of the deceased could decide to sue the party claimed to be at fault, and if they won, they would receive wrongful death compensatory damages.
Wrongful death compensatory damages provide funds for loved ones of the deceased. These damages include payments for funeral and burial expenses and medical bills from pre-death care. They also include damages to cover loss of financial contribution from the deceased, loss of consortium and companionship and loss of support and services from the deceased. Additional damages may be awarded for emotional distress of the surviving loved ones and family members.
Punitive damages are slightly different. Only a small number of personal injury cases reward punitive damages. As the name suggests, the damages paid in these situations are paid to punish the person at fault. Punitive damages are generally awarded when significantly despicable behavior has occurred on the part of the defendant. The injured plaintiff can receive both or either punitive and compensatory damages if they win their case.
Seeking legal aid for your personal injury case
If you have recently been injured in a personal injury accident, the best way to receive the compensation that you deserve for your injuries is to speak with a personal injury attorney to see if you have a legitimate case to bring to court. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations to clients, and they work on a contingency basis, so you only pay legal fees to your attorney if you win your case.
This free consultation with a personal injury attorney will tell you whether your case has enough evidence to beget an award on your behalf. There are numerous benefits to speaking with a personal injury lawyer and having a professional help you throughout the claims process. The legal system surrounding personal injury law is extremely difficult to understand, and furthermore, in order to adequately prove negligence on the part of the defendant, you’ll need the expertise of a seasoned lawyer.
Make an appointment at your earliest convenience if you would like to discuss the your case and receive the damages you deserve for your injuries and pain and suffering.