Damages in Personal Injury Cases
When reading or hearing about a personal injury case, you generally hear the term “damages” or that someone received so much money in “damages”. But what exactly are damages? There are many different kinds of damages depending on the type of case, where the case is being tried at, and sometimes individual circumstances of the case. In a personal injury case, money damages are the common form of damages, but what you receive in damages is much more complicated than that and there are many different categories of damages that may be awarded. Once a party is awarded damages, money damages are paid to an injured party (the plaintiff) by either a person or company who was legally responsible for the accident (either the defendant or the insurer). Below is an overview of common damages that are awarded in a personal injury case.
Compensatory damages are the most common form of damages in a personal injury case. This type of damages is intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for what they lost as a result of the accident or injury. The concept is to make the plaintiff “whole” again in a monetary standpoint. In some situations, placing a monetary value on a consequence is hard to do and a person may need expert testimony or other evidence to prove their value. Under compensatory damages, there are many different areas in which a plaintiff is able to collect:
- Medical Treatment: This generally includes the cost of medical care that is associated with the accident. This includes reimbursement for costs already paid and an estimate of costs for future medical expenses.
- Income: Income includes any sort of impact on your salary or wages. This also includes any future impact on salary.
- Property Loss: Property includes anything that was damaged as a result of the accident. This could include clothing, a vehicle, or any other item damaged. The general formula to calculate this amount looks at what the fair market value of the property was at the time of the accident.
- Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering is generally awarded when serious discomfort has occurred. This includes pain and suffering from the injury and in its immediate aftermath.
- Emotional Distress: Emotional distress is usually awarded in more serious accidents in which there was a psychological impact as a result of the accident. This can include fear, anxiety, and sleep loss.
- Loss of Enjoyment: Loss of enjoyment may be awarded when an accident will keep you from day-to-day enjoyments. This includes hobbies, exercising, or other recreational activities that you are no longer able to do.
- Loss of Consortium: This refers to the impact that the accident had on your relationship with your spouse. Generally, this constitutes the loss of companionship or the inability to be able to carry on a sexual relationship. Some jurisdictions include the relationship between a parent and a child under this category.
Punitive damages constitute a special type of damages that are awarded only under specific circumstances. Generally, punitive damages are given in order to punish the defendant, and are used in cases where the defendant’s conduct was malicious, egregious, or outrageously careless. Punitive damages are awarded on top of compensatory damages and are considered to be beyond what would make the plaintiff “whole.” Most states have placed some sort of cap on punitive damages that only allows a plaintiff to receive an amount within that cap.
Have You Been Injured?
A personal injury case is a very complicated process. The best way to ensure success in a case is to consult an attorney that knows the process. The Fort Lauderdale attorneys at Boone & Davis have years of experience in personal injury cases and how the system works. Contact us today and let us examine your case. We will work to get you the just compensation that you deserve.