What Are the Damages I Can Receive in a Personal Injury Case?
In 2018, there were 24.8 million visits to the doctor for treating injuries caused by unintentional accidents. Medical treatment can be expensive, and paying to treat an injury that arose from another's negligence is aggravating. Luckily, personal injury lawsuits exist, and their purpose is to compensate victims of negligence.
A plaintiff, or the victim of unsafe actions, is entitled to pursue a personal injury case in order to hold a defendant liable for negligence. Negligence is careless behavior that caused the plaintiff harm. The costs that the plaintiff incurred from the negligence are called “damages”. Damages include any destruction of property, injuries, and losses that the plaintiff suffered.
There are three types of damages. Special damages and general damages are both known as “compensatory damages”. Compensatory damages entail what the plaintiff is owed to be restored financially. The third type is known as punitive damages, which are only applicable to specific cases. Keep reading to learn more about each kind, and contact Glazer Hammond PLLC if you have any questions regarding how to receive compensation in Northern Arizona.
Special Compensatory Damages
Special damages, otherwise known as economic damages, are costs that can be monetarily calculated to the cent. All of the out-of-pocket costs that the plaintiff is forced to pay in response to the accident fits into this category. Below is a list of common special damages:
- Costs associated with repairing or replacing damaged property
- Any income loss that resulted from the incident or incurred injuries
- Any decrease in earning capacity caused by the incident
- The costs of all medical treatment associated with the incident (including past and future expenses)
- Any costs derived from hiring help to carry out tasks that the injury prevents the plaintiff from performing
Special damages vary from case to case, and they must be factually demonstrated. It is important to keep track of all bills associated with monetary costs. For example, be sure to keep all medical bills so that they can be presented as evidence for special damages.
General Compensatory Damages
General compensatory damages, or non-economic damages, are costs that can't be exactly calculated in monetary terms. Beyond economic costs, accident victims can suffer from various circumstances that affect their livelihood. General damages attempt to compensate for these losses as well. Some examples of general damages are described below.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Injuries sustained in an accident can be chronically painful. They can leave the plaintiff with physical disfigurements or impairments. Back pain, neck pain, or traumatic brain injuries are just a few examples of physical symptoms that can last a long time or never dissipate at all.
Emotional Pain and Suffering
Like physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional pain can persist long after the accident. It is possible to receive compensation for psychological anguish incurred from a negligence accident. Grief, fear, insomnia, and PTSD are just a few conditions that qualify under this category.
Loss of Companionship
If the accident resulted in the death of a loved one, then the plaintiff's family can receive compensation for the ailments that result from this loss. A wrongful death claim would seek damages associated with the acquired costs related to care expenses, a loss of parental guidance, a loss of love and intimacy, a loss of household services, and more.
Overall, general damages deal with the costs that result in a lower quality of life for the plaintiff. General damages can be calculated in many different ways, as the amount of compensation is dependent on the specific factors of a case and its resulting injuries. It is best to consult with an attorney that deals specifically with personal injury claims, as they can determine what general costs may be associated with your accident.
Punitive damages are far rarer than the compensatory damages discussed above. When a defendant's behavior is distinctly destructive, the plaintiff may be eligible to receive punitive damages. Some examples of cases where punitive damages may be applicable include:
- Fraudulent behavior that caused severe financial damage to the plaintiff
- A defendant that has been found guilty of cruel, deliberate, and unprovoked acts that severely impacted the plaintiff
Punitive damages are intended to punish especially malicious behavior. Often, judges award this kind of compensation to a plaintiff when it is fit to discourage others from acting in the same way as the defendant.
Discuss Your Personal Injury Options with a Qualified Attorney in Northern Arizona
Negligent behavior can appear in all sorts of situations. Whether you've been hurt in a car accident or injured by dangerous property conditions, it's best to know your options. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can identify what compensation you can earn.
Attorney Keith Hammond has over 30 years of experience helping clients receive the compensation they're entitled to. Pursuing a personal injury suit does not have to be overly difficult. Schedule a consultation with Glazer, Hammond & Ruben, PLLC for your Northern Arizona legal needs.