Types of Damages in Personal Injury
In personal injury cases, compensation is known as “damages”, of which there are two main categories: compensatory and punitive. Before anyone files a claim for personal injury, types of damages they are seeking compensation for must be established with the help of a lawyer.
You’ll have the best chance of recovery by hiring a Chicago, IL personal injury lawyer at Langdon & Emison. Our nationally-recognized attorneys will evaluate the facts of your case, determine the best course of action, and represent you vigorously every step of the way.
We won’t settle for anything less than what you need, and we’ll work closely with your doctor in calculating the cost of future care. To learn more, call Langdon & Emison at (312) 855-0700 to schedule your free case consultation.
Compensatory damages are monies awarded to the victim of an accident to make up for their injury. They are intended to help the victim recover without going into debt due to medical bills, lost income, and other losses related to the accident.
This category can be broken down even further into general and special compensatory damages.
General Compensatory Damages
Also known as general or non-economic damages, these compensate a victim for non-monetary consequences of an accident. General damages are awarded to those who suffered personal harm as a direct result of the accident. Common types of general damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss or impairment of mental or physical ability
- Loss of consortium (married partner) or companionship
These are known as general damages because most personal injury victims will experience at least one in an accident. They have no specific dollar amount; instead, damages are matched to the amount lost by the victim.
Because these damages are usually not easy to measure or define, judges will commonly determine the amount of an award based on similar cases.
Special Compensatory Damages
Special damages compensate victims for their monetary expenses following an accident. They are designed to return the victim to the economic state they were in before the accident. Special damages cover all related expenses or losses, and there is no limit to the type or amount of damages that a victim can claim. Common types of special damages include:
- Medical bills
- Cost of future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future wages
- Costs associated with canceled plans
Special damages are commonly awarded in car accident and slip-and-fall cases.
Punitive (exemplary) damages are designed to punish the at-fault party for their actions, as “punitive” means “inflicted or intended as punishment”. These are given to the victims of intentional reprehensible behavior, such as sexual assault or fraud.
The focus with punitive damages is not to award the victim, but to prevent the defendant (at-fault party) from committing the act again. If the court orders a defendant to pay punitive damages, they must give the money to the plaintiff (victim).
Usually, the defendant is a large company or organization, such as a pharmaceutical company that falsely advertises a product.
Wrongful Death Damages
Families of accident victims who have passed away may seek compensation for several damages resulting from their emotional and financial loss. Common types of economic wrongful death damages include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred before the victim’s death
- Loss of the deceased’s income
- Loss of the deceased’s benefits, such as health care or pension
Common types of non-economic wrongful death damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of the victim’s services, like childcare
- Loss of consortium or companionship
Struggling After a Personal Injury? Types of Damages Can Be Determined With Help From an Experienced Attorney
If you or a family member were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you may be able to recover compensation. Damages exist to get you back to where you were before the accident, so the best way to get the money you need is by hiring a personal injury attorney.
Personal injury damages can be complicated, so consult with an attorney at Langdon & Emison at (312) 855-0700 now.