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What damages can be claimed in a personal injury case?

damages in a personal injury case

Have you suffered due to another’s actions or negligence? If so, you may be legally entitled to seek financial compensation, otherwise known as damages, in a personal injury case. As the plaintiff, you can claim various types of damages in a personal injury case. Contact Langdon & Emison’s personal injury attorneys today.  

What are personal injury damages?

Personal injury damages are compensation for the losses you have suffered because of another party’s wrongdoing. Unfortunately, these cases occur quite often. If you were the victim of a car crash or workplace accident, suffered due to medical malpractice, or slipped and fell on someone else’s property, you have been the victim of a personal injury. 

It’s likely that you now have medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of income to worry about, not to mention the emotional distress you’ve experienced. The silver lining is that all of these costs can be covered in personal injury damages. 

Personal injury cases typically result in either compensatory or punitive damages. 

What are compensatory damages? 

Compensatory damages, the more common form of damages awarded in personal injury cases, seek to repay the injured party for financial losses. In other words, their goal is to make the plaintiff “whole” through compensation. 

If the cost was incurred due to the personal injury, there’s a good chance that it can be recovered in the form of compensatory damages. 

What Compensatory Damages Cover 

Compensatory damages are unique to the injured party and can cover any loss or expense the victim suffered due to the injury. The amounts awarded in compensatory damages can vary from case to case. However, some damages are commonly found throughout most types of personal injury cases. 

According to Chicago personal injury lawyer, Bob Langdon, “A plaintiff’s compensation can vary greatly depending on their situation and the extent of their injuries.” Compensatory damages might look different for two different plaintiffs, even if they experienced the same kind of personal injury. 

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by loved ones of the victim who died by intentional or negligent actions. Wrongful death damages can include: 

  • Costs of the funeral 
  • Loss of the victim’s income
  • Medical bills incurred before death
  • The victim’s pain and suffering 
  • The victim’s family’s pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship

Lost Income

Personal injury damages can also cover lost income or wages. If the plaintiff has to miss shifts or is unable to work for a period of time due to their injuries or medical treatment, this can be recovered in personal injury damages.

Even if the plaintiff can use paid time off or sick leave, they should still be compensated for this time. In worst-case scenarios, an injury is sometimes serious enough for the victim to be left permanently unable to work. In these cases, lost income damages can cover future lost income and earning potential. 

Medical Bills

When people think of “medical bills,” they typically think of the doctor’s visit and the bill that comes after. However, medical bills can encompass a wide range of costs that the victim is on the hook for covering, unless they file a personal injury case to hold the responsible party accountable for these costs.

In addition to the doctor’s bill, there may be emergency transportation costs, physical therapy bills, prescriptions, or long-term medical treatment with no clear end date in sight. It’s crucial that the full scope of a victim’s medical bills, past, present, and future, are covered by personal injury damages. 

Pain and Suffering

While harder to quantify than other types of personal injury damages, pain and suffering can nonetheless have serious and lasting effects on a victim. Pain and suffering can refer to various effects, such as physical pain or emotional distress caused by another’s actions. 

Pain and suffering damages can vary dramatically depending on the plaintiff’s accident, the extent of their injuries, and their road to recovery. 

What are punitive damages?

Punitive damages, another type of personal injury damage, are also awarded to the plaintiff. However, they differ in that they’re not intended to make the plaintiff whole but rather serve as punishment for the responsible party. 

Punitive damages aren’t as common as compensatory damages; they act as a deterrent for particularly egregious behavior such as gross negligence. 

Collecting Personal Injury Damages 

When you’ve suffered from a personal injury, the path toward receiving the damages you’re entitled to isn’t always clear. A plaintiff with a personal injury claim can either settle with the defendant or receive a court judgment. However, defendants aren’t always able or willing to pay what the victim is owed. 

Working with an experienced Chicago, IL personal injury lawyer at Langdon & Emison is the best way to ensure you’re compensated for your injuries. In addition to working with the defendant to ensure you’re fully compensated, they can also work with insurance companies with complicated processes for personal injury payouts.