The term “damages” comes up a lot during a personal injury claim, but do you know what that means? Damages refers to the amount of money that’s rewarded by the court. There are many different types that you may encounter during your case, so let’s talk about the different types.
General Damages vs. Special Damages
General damages compensate an injured person for non-monetary damages that are incurred in an injury claim. They are referred to as general damages because they address the harm that you would typically sustain in an injury. Most personal injury victims are expected to have some general damages. General damages can be tricky because pain and suffering doesn’t have a clear definition, so your attorney will have to use their expertise in previous cases to associate a dollar amount with your injury.
Examples of non-monetary damages includes:
Mental and Emotional Distress: It’s common for victims to experience PTSD or other anxiety after an accident. Emotional distress is typically accompanied by trauma or physical injuries.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Depending on the severity of the accident, it can be difficult to return to your normal hobbies and activities due to the pain or disability. In this case, your attorney will argue that your life has been significantly altered due to the accident.
Inconvenience: Ordinary tasks such as work, school, or other events, may be interrupted due to the onset of pain. Frequent doctors appointments can also create an inconvenience in your life and force you to alter your daily routine.
Disfigurement & Impairment: Loss of body parts, scarring or interference with bodily function. A lawyer may argue that your impairment negatively affected your quality of life depending on the extent of the injury.
Examples of special damages:
Lost Wages (Past and present, if able to be calculated): An individual may have lost wages due to medical care and may possibly have a decrease in wages due to the injuries in your accident. A lawyer will calculate lost wages and promotions you would have otherwise received if it weren’t for the injury.
Medical Expenses: If you’ve been in an accident, you understand how quickly medical bills can accumulate. Medical damages take into account everything from the initial E.R visit all the way down to the physical therapy sessions.
Property Damage: If your vehicle has endured damage due to the accident, the responsible party’s insurance will be liable to pay for the repair’s or vehicle replacement. The amount of damages payable will depend on the extent of the damage caused.
Special damages are also called monetary or economic damages and are meant to help cover the losses that have a specific monetary value. These losses can be converted into dollars after the losses have been determined.
Compensatory Damages vs. Punitive Damages
Compensatory damages are financial payments to get you back to where you were before the accident. These damages can include special damages that were mentioned above since they are quantitative. The goal of compensatory damages is to help pay for the costs that the accident may have caused.
Punitive damages typically have one purpose – to punish the responsible party. This isn’t necessarily punishment for causing the accident as this is typically reserved for cases where you were intentionally injured. It’s always a good idea to talk with your lawyer regarding any damages and what each type means for your case.
Call Friedman Law Offices
In all personal injury litigation, negligence, recklessness, or unlawful conduct of another must be proven in order to develop a successful case. You must be able to show the nature and extent of the actual damages you suffered. With the use of experts and forensic professionals, we ensure that your damages demand for all injuries is complete, fully documented, and persuasive in settlement negotiations and trial.
If you or a loved one has been injured, contact us today. We advocate for clients throughout Nebraska from our base in Lincoln.
An initial consultation is free, and we work on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if you get paid.