Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury CasesBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
A personal injury case is one where a person suffers an accident that is caused by the negligence of someone else. When that happens, the injured person has the right to file a suit against the party responsible for the injury. The purpose of that suit is to collect compensation for the damages suffered in the accident. Damages are the costs the victim has to endure as a result of the accident. Those costs are not just financial, they can be physical and emotional as well.
Fortunately, personal injury law means that the victim does not have to pay those expenses out of their own pocket because they can file a personal injury suit to collect compensation to cover those costs. In the case of non-economic damages a monetary value is assigned to them so that the personal injury victim can collect compensation for them as well. All of this is facilitated by a personal injury attorney, which makes them invaluable in cases like these. Personal injury attorneys are the people who stand up to defend the rights of victims of negligence to make sure that they get the financial help they need. In Jacksonville, the law firm of Fasig and Brooks will help all personal injury victims with their cases.
The Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case
There is a wide variety of damages that can be awarded to the victim in a personal injury case, some of them are easily quantifiable and are called special damages, while others need to be estimated. The reason is that they do not have an inherent monetary value associated with them. All damages are compensatory, which means that they are intended to compensate the victim for any losses caused by the accident. The following is a list of some of the more common types of damages in personal injury cases:
Medical Expenses - This is the most common type of expense because of the injury part of personal injury cases. In this case the compensation is meant to cover the costs of both current treatments for the injury and any possible future treatments if the injury still persists while the case is going on.
Property Loss or Damage - These types of damages are most often seen in car accidents where the victim's vehicle will need to be repaired or replaced. However, property losses can occur in other cases where the victim experiences damage to their clothing or to any items that they were carrying, or were on their person at the time.
Lost Wages - Personal injury victims can get compensation for the wages that they are unable to earn because they cannot work while they recover. They are also entitled to damages for the income they would have been able to make in the future were it not for the accident. This is called loss of earning capacity and the amount of the damages differs based on whether that loss is temporary or permanent.
Pain and Suffering - This is one of the non-economic damages to which a monetary value needs to be assigned. In some cases, a multiplier is used to calculate the value of damages caused by pain and suffering. It usually amounts to 1.5 to 4 times the value of the special damages in the case. However, this multiplier is not used in all personal injury cases so the monetary value of pain and suffering is judged using other means.
Emotional and Psychological Trauma - Some personal victims experience psychological and emotional problems like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after their accident. Compensation for this type of emotional distress is common in personal injury cases.
Loss of Enjoyment - This basically means that the injury suffered by the victim prevents them from being able to participate in, or enjoy activities that they could before the accident. For example, a leg injury could prevent someone from enjoying cycling because it causes them pain to do so.
Factors That Affect The Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Some states use a legal concept called comparative negligence while others use a concept called contributory negligence, and both can affect the compensation received by the personal injury victim. Comparative negligence means that if the person filing the personal injury lawsuit is partially at fault for the accident, then the compensation they receive will be a percentage of the total amount; that percentage is based on their percentage of fault for the accident. So if someone would have received $10,000 worth of damages but it was determined that they were 50% to blame for the accident, then they will receive $5000 instead.
In states that use contributory negligence, the personal injury victim will not receive any compensation at all if it is decided that they were even slightly at fault for the accident. That is rather harsh, but fortunately most states use the comparative negligence system. Another contributing factor to the compensation amount is the victim's mitigation-or lack thereof-of the economic harm caused by the personal injury. That means it is expected that the victim will do all that they can to take care of themselves. So if someone refuses to get treatment for an injury and it gets worse as a result, then the amount of compensation they get will be reduced.
Let A Personal Injury Lawyer Help You With Your Case
You can see that there are a lot of different ways to award compensatory damages in a personal injury case and that there are different factors that determine the amount of those compensatory damages. A personal injury attorney can help you to sort out your case and help to give you an estimate of how much compensation you are entitled to receive and inform you of any factors that can affect that amount. And, of course, a personal injury attorney can help you get those compensatory damages as well. So make sure that a personal injury lawyer is one of the first people that you call after you have been in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another.