When you’re in any type of accident that causes you injury, there is typically somewhere you can turn to receive compensation. Before you can seek compensation, you have to understand damages. What are damages in a personal injury case? They’re basically the compensation you receive for certain types of losses you experienced due to your injury.
Types of Damages
There are two types of damages you could be awarded in a personal injury case: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages break down further into general and special damages, and punitive damages are only awarded in particular cases.
General Compensatory Damages
The losses you’ve sustained which can’t be quantified are considered general compensatory damages. These are non-monetary damages you have experienced as a result of your injury. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
- Physical disfigurement
- Loss of companionship
- Physical impairment
- Loss of quality of life
When general damages are calculated, the court will often use a formula that considers the special damages and the amount you have sought for that. The skill of your attorney, how severe your injury is and how sensitive the situation is might also play a role in the amount of damages you can seek for general compensation.
Special Compensatory Damages
Special damages are often easier to quantify, as you can take a handful of documents and total the amounts they contain. Special damages vary the most from one case to the next because cases are so unique and injuries are so specific to each victim. Some special damages you may be able to seek include:
- Loss of earnings, both past and future
- Medical expenses, both past and future
- Household expenses
- Costs that came with altered plans
- Repairs and replacements of property
- Loss of irreplaceable belongings
If you are awarded punitive damages, it’s really a way to punish the defendant. This often happens in cases where the defendant was extremely negligent or careless, such as drunk driving or domestic abuse. When punitive damages are awarded, the court is telling the defendant, as well as anyone else who hears news about the case, that his or her particular behavior will not be tolerated in the community.
Involving Your Lawyer in Your Case
When personal injuries occur, you shouldn’t have to field the expenses on your own. Involving a personal injury lawyer, in your case is one of the best ways to ensure you receive the damages you are entitled to. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to find out more.