The primary aim of every personal injury claim is to demonstrate negligence by the opposing party. If the injured party or the plaintiff can prove negligence, they can seek adequate damages (an amount of money claimed in compensation for an injury or loss) from the defendant or the at-fault party. Click here to learn more about a personal injury claim.
Talking about damages, in a personal injury claim, there are two kinds of recoverable damages- compensatory damages and punitive damages. Here, we will understand the two in detail. So, let’s begin.
Compensatory damages are awarded to help the plaintiff obtain financial coverage for his medical expenses. Typically, these damages include compensation for the injured party’s sustained injuries or losses suffered as a direct result of the accident. These damages are given to make the wounded party economically whole, as before the accident. This is the first type of recoverable loss.
Moving on, compensatory damages are further classified into two sub-categories: injuries that can be eased economically and those that cannot be.
Economic Compensatory Damages
There is no limit to the type of economic compensatory damage claims that can be made or even the sum of money the plaintiff can claim. As the name suggests, these damages refer to the losses expressed in monetary terms. Often, these types of injuries are specific and easy to calculate.
Some of the most common types of compensatory economic damages are:
- Medical treatment- ongoing and future
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss to the property
- Household expenses
- Legal fees associated with filing the lawsuit
Non-economic Compensatory Damages
On the other hand, these damages are invisible injuries sustained by the plaintiff. Unlike economic losses, these injuries cannot be calculated as no numbers, bills, or receipts are involved.
In some places, the state governments have imposed a cap on the amount of compensation the plaintiff can seek for non-economic damages. That said, some of the most common types of non-economic damages are as follows:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Physical impairment or disfigurement such as paralysis or brain damage
There is no direct formula for calculating these damages. Several factors, including the injured party’s lifestyle, type of work, previous injuries, etc., help determine the right amount.
Another type of recoverable damage in a personal injury claim is punitive damages. They are cautiously applied in some circumstances to punish the wrongful behavior of the at-fault party. Understanding that these damages are not applicable in all cases is critical.
These damages are claimed in cases when the opposing party knowingly displayed negligent behavior that led to the accident. For instance, if an employer knew that hazardous material was inside a factory but still asked the employee to complete the task. Their behavior could be recognized as willful. And in such a case, punitive charges may be filed.
Understanding the different types of recoverable compensation is the first step toward filing a personal injury claim. It is advisable to seek the services of a professional attorney to ensure you get the optimal balance for your injuries.