Types of Damages Recoverable in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Embarking on the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit is a big commitment – before you do it, you surely want to learn as much as you can about the process, what your chances of success are, and how much you can recover in compensation. While knowing the exact amount that you might win in a settlement is impossible, it is possible to know the types of damages available in a personal injury lawsuit.
The most common type of damages that most people seek – and that most people are awarded when they can prove negligence – are economic damages. Economic damages refer to compensation for actual monetary losses, such as:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages; and
- Property damages.
It is important to know that economic damages can be for present and future losses. For example, if you are unable to return to work due to a permanent disability, you may seek the value of your future lost wages.
In addition to economic damages, noneconomic damages are often frequently sought as well. Noneconomic damages are more difficult to measure because they refer to intangible losses such as the value of:
- Emotional anguish; and
- Psychological harm.
There are various formulas that may be used for determining noneconomic damages. For example, you may be assigned a multiple between one and five based on the extent of your injuries, with less severe injuries receiving a lower number. Then, a number of your economic damages may be multiplied by this number in order to determine how much you should receive in noneconomic damages. In some states, noneconomic damages are capped. Economic damages, on the other hand, are rarely capped.
Punitive damages are less common but may be sought in many states throughout the nation. Punitive damages are damages that are designed to punish the defendant for their actions, not necessarily to compensate the victim. Punitive damages are only allowable when the defendant’s actions were intentional, malicious, reckless, or/and egregious, and are usually – but not always – capped.
Seeking Damages for Your Losses
If you are injured and have questions about the claims process, do not hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you. Scheduling a free consultation with an attorney where you can learn more is completely free, and the best personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis.
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