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Personal Injury Law 101: Different Types of Damages and Cases

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Accident-caused injuries occur daily around the world. Cases of slips, falls, and car crashes catch most people off guard, so you can never tell if they’ll happen to you, too. The best thing you can do is to keep yourself informed and prepared, and what better way to do both than to learn more about personal injury cases. For this particular primer, we’ll go through the different types of damages involved in the legal practice area.

Note that this article is only an introductory guide to give you an idea about an aspect of the case. If you want a more comprehensive understanding, talk to an attorney from a personal injury law firm.

Damages: Definition and Basic Types

The term “damages” refers to the financial compensation that plaintiffs can file for if they’ve incurred injury, property damage, or loss caused by an accident or a negligent act. There are two kinds of damages: compensatory damages, which are prominent in most personal injury cases, and punitive damages, which are available only in specific cases.

Compensatory Damages

Most personal injury cases involve compensatory damages that provide monetary reimbursement for the harm, suffering, and loss experienced by the plaintiff. This type of claim is available for vehicular accidents, slip and fall incidents, and medical malpractice cases.

Compensatory damages have two categories: general and special. The former covers recompense for non-monetary losses, while the latter focuses on economic detriments.

General Compensatory Damages

These damages are for the non-financial harm and loss sustained by the injured party due to the defendant’s actions. General damages, which are prominent in most personal injury cases, include the following items:

  •   Physical pain and suffering
  •   Physical impairment
  •   Physical disfigurement
  •   Emotional distress
  •   Mental anguish
  •   Psychological trauma
  •   Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  •   Anxiety or depression
  •   Diminished quality or enjoyment of life
  •   Inconvenience
  •   Humiliation

Special Compensatory Damages

These damages reimburse the plaintiff for every expense they’ve become subject to due to an accident-caused injury. Special damages vary depending on the case, but they typically cover any economic losses of the injured party. This form of compensation includes the following examples:

  •   Medical expenses for past and future treatments
  •   Repair and replacement of damaged property
  •   Loss of income and earning capacity
  •   Prescription drugs
  •   Rehabilitation and therapy sessions
  •   Disability accommodation
  •   Live-in or nursing home care
  •   Domestic services
  •   Transportation and travel costs
  •   Loss of irreplaceable objects

Wrongful Death Damages

If a person perishes due to an accident, their surviving family members and loved ones can file for wrongful death damages. This form of compensation includes the following expenses:

  •   Funeral and burial costs
  •   Cost of medical treatment before death
  •   Loss of companionship and consortium
  •   The emotional distress of surviving family members and loved ones
  •   Loss of financial contribution
  •   Loss of support and services

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded when the defendant is found guilty of committing or displaying extremely harmful acts or behavior. The plaintiff receives this form of compensation due to the following reasons:

  •   To punish the defendant for their appalling misconduct
  •   To discourage other people from participating in the same unlawful behavior of the defendant

Here’s a list of civil wrongs by the defendant that can entitle the plaintiff/s to punitive damages:

  •   Aggravated battery
  •   Sexual assault
  •   Fraudulent behavior that leads to financial harm

Types of Personal Injury Cases

Many accidents and events can cause personal injury to you or your property. To learn which instances are valid, here’s a list of situations that entitles you to seek a legal claim:

Vehicular Crashes

If you ever get caught in an auto collision caused by a negligent driver, you can seek compensation for all damages you’ve incurred. Personal injury laws cover crashes caused by a car, motorcycle, truck, bicycle, and other types of vehicles.

Slip, Trip, or Fall Accidents

Poor conditions in public property, like a shopping mall, can sometimes cause physical harm to customers. Should you sustain an injury due to structural hazards, insufficient lighting, or security failures, you’re free to file a claim against the owner of the premises.

Medical Malpractice

Doctors can find themselves tangled in a medical malpractice lawsuit if their care and treatment fall below the professional standard and causes harm and injury to their patients. Medical errors are common occurrences, with many instances even leading to fatalities.

Get Advice and Services From a Personal Injury Law Firm

It’s best to ask for legal assistance if you’ve sustained damages due to another party’s negligence. Contact a personal injury law firm today and work with a reputable attorney to file for the compensation you deserve.