After sustaining an injury from negligence, you have legal options to recover compensation. Whether you were injured due to a defective product or suffered an injury from a car collision, money damages can be paid out to the injured person (plaintiff) by the personal or company who is found legally responsible (defendant or their insurance carrier).
Recovering damages after a severe personal injury can help aid in your recovery both financially and emotionally. There are various types of damages that can be recovered after your injury, including compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the injured person for what was lost due to an accident or injury caused by another’s negligence. Many are easy to quantify, such as medical bills, but some, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium, are more difficult.
Common compensatory damages in personal injury cases include:
- Medical Expenses
- Medical expenses include the cost of medical care associated with recovering from an accident. This can include reimbursement from previous treatment as well as compensation for the estimated cost of future medical care.
- Lost Income
- If an injury made an impact on your wages and salary, you can recover compensation for lost wages. If an injury affect your ability for a promotion or impacts the amount of money you would be able to earn in the future, you can recover compensation for loss of earning capacity.
- Damaged or loss property
- If your car, home, clothing, or other items were damaged in an accident, you can recover compensation for their repair or for their value.
- Pain and suffering
- Compensation for pain and suffering includes the physical and mental discomfort you suffered during and after the accident, including ongoing or chronic pain.
- Emotional stress
- Some states consider emotional stress under “pain and suffering” damages, while others utilize emotional stress for the psychological impact of an injury. Psychological impacts may include fear, anxiety, PTSD and sleep loss.
- Loss of enjoyment
- If injuries sustained from a personal injury accident keeps you from regular activities or exercises you enjoy, you may be able to recover “loss of enjoyment” damages.
- Loss of consortium
- “Loss of consortium” damages relate to an injured person’s relationship with a spouse or child and are usually awarded if an injury impacted companionship, ability for sexual activity, or ability to have children.
Punitive damages are less common in personal injury lawsuits, but can be awarded if the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or grossly negligent. “By definition, gross negligence is more than just careless behavior – gross negligence is willful or reckless indifference to the duty of care and complete disregard for the wellbeing of others,” note injury specialists at The Fang Law Firm, “a person engaging in gross negligence likely knows the behavior could cause harm to others, and proceeds regardless of the potential for harm.
Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages and aim to punish the defendant for his or her conduct. Examples of punitive damages may include a severely intoxicated driver or a business who knew of a hazard, yet failed to repair it, leading to devastating injuries for employees.
As a survivor of a personal injury accident, you have rights and legal options for compensation. Choosing to pursue a personal injury lawsuit could mean recovering various types of damages, from compensatory to punitive. Regardless of the circumstances of your accident, an injury lawsuit could bring the financial relief for you and your family to begin to rebuild your life.