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Damages in Personal Injury

The Different Types of Damages in Personal Injury Law

by Martha Simmonds

Accidents are those events where you could do everything right but still end up hurt. What makes accidents worse is the fact that they are something that is completely avoidable. People could just not answer a phone call when driving, but they still decide to do so and end up hurting themselves and others.

As traumatic as an accident can be, victims must find ways to punish the at-fault party. One possible way is by seeking compensation from them. But this gives rise to a new problem. How do you prepare an estimate?

You can easily get the compensation you deserve when you hire an attorney, and they’ll take care of the rest.

However, a little information never hurts anyone, does it?

That’s what this post is all about. It talks about the different types of damages that you, as a victim, are eligible for after an accident.

Different Types of Damages in Personal Injury Law

Personal injury law has three types of damages. They are intended to compensate for all the losses (physical, emotional, and financial) a victim goes through after an accident. The three damages are:

  1. Economic Damages
  2. Non-Economic Damages
  3. Punitive Damages

We’ll discuss each of them in the sections below.

Economic Damages

These are also known as special damages. They compensate for all the out-of-pocket expenses a victim suffers after an accident. Economic damages are comparatively easy to prove. The following expenses are covered under economic damages:

  1. Medical Bills: Just about all expenses related to treating the victim come under medical bills. Costs incurred for hospital visits, surgeries, consultations, and medication are a few examples of medical bills.
  2. Lost Wages: The income the victim missed during the recovery period after the accident is compensated through lost wages. The victim has to submit proof of employment and other relevant information to receive these damages.
  3. Assistive Services: The money spent by the victim to avail professional help or buy assistive equipment to deal with everyday life is covered here.
  4. Household Services: These damages are applicable when the victim suffers a permanent or temporary disability. The costs incurred to make the necessary modifications in the victim’s home (wheelchair ramps, stair lifts) are covered under household services.
  5. Property Damage: These are commonly seen in motor vehicle accidents. The sum spent to repair or replace damaged property is covered under property damages.
  6. Funeral and Burial Expenses: These are applicable when the victim loses their life in an accident. The surviving family members can recover the expenses incurred for the funeral and burial of the victim.

Non-Economic Damages

These are also known as general damages. Non-economic damages are harder to calculate as they compensate for the emotional and pain-related aspects of the accident. The following damages are categorized under non-economic damages:

  1. Pain and Suffering: Victims who suffer from physical pain even after recovering from their injuries can seek additional damages through pain and suffering.
  2. Emotional Distress: This damage covers the psychological impact of the accident. Victims who suffer from conditions like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and phobias after the accident can seek compensation under emotional distress.
  3. Disability and Disfigurement: Compensates for the psychological impact victims suffer due to disability and disfigurement after an accident.
  4. Loss of Consortium: Applicable in accidents where victims lose their lives. Surviving family members can seek compensation for the loss of companionship they suffer due to the death of the victim.
  5. Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Some accidents may force a victim to avoid activities they once used to do. This leads to a reduced quality of life. Victims who experience reduced enjoyment in certain activities or life in general can seek these damages.

Punitive Damages

These are rare damages that are awarded to punish the at-fault. Victims often seek punitive damages if they feel the accident was a result of the gross-negligence or recklessness of the at-fault party. The aim of punitive damages is to set an example that deters others from engaging in similar behavior. Punitive damages are awarded on top of economic and non-economic damages.

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