October 29, 2014 • Personal Injury
If a personal injury case is successful, the plaintiff might be able to collect financial compensation or “damages” from the party that was proven to be at fault. Here are the different types of damages available in a personal injury claim.
Compensation for the Cost of Medical Bills Pertaining to the Accident
If the plaintiff has to undergo treatment or testing or receive extensive medical care such as nursing home stays, hospital stays, or physical therapy, it is up to the defendant who was proven to have caused the injury to pay for the cost of all these medical bills. The medical portion of the damages must include all expenses that the plaintiff has had to pay over the course of receiving treatment, and must also include future medical costs.
Another aspect of damages award in a personal injury case is compensation for lost wages or lost income. This includes compensation for any work that a plaintiff has had to miss due to the injury or the treatment for the injury. If the plaintiff cannot ever work due to the injuries they sustained, they need to be compensated for the lost wages that they would have made over the course of a lifetime.
Pain and Suffering
It is hard to put a price on pain and suffering sustained by the injured party. Usually, juries tend to award large damages for pain and suffering. This is why most insurance companies try to settle a case out of court. If a settlement cannot be achieved, the insurance companies will try to arrive at a fair and reasonable number for pain and suffering damages.
An injury may also have emotional ramifications on a plaintiff. It usually takes psychiatric records and diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder to prove emotional distress and add to the amount of compensation that could be awarded.
If a victim has been killed due to an accident or an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, it may result in a wrongful death lawsuit. In order to bring a wrongful death action, a family member must have standing. Usually spouses, and parents of minor children may be able to file a case.
Loss of Companionship/Loss of Consortium
If a person has been killed or altered significantly as a result of an injury or accident, such an action may be brought by a family member. This involves compensating the family member for the loss of the relationship of the victim.
Punitive damages do not apply in all cases and in all states. When they are allowed however, they can be very different from the other kinds of damages. Though punitive damages are paid to the plaintiff, they not intended to make the plaintiff whole. Instead, they are meant to act as a deterrent for undesirable behavior and to punish or reprimand the defendant for wrongful behavior.