How Are Damages Awarded In A Personal Injury Case?

How Are Damages Awarded In A Personal Injury Case?

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If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation, or damages, through a personal injury lawsuit. In these lawsuits, the compensation you seek will, in most cases, fall into two categories: compensatory damages, and punitive damages.

Compensatory damages cover the financial and personal losses that are incurred due to your injury, while punitive damages are awarded as a punishment to the defendant for egregious or intentional actions that caused your injuries. Punitive damages are not awarded in every winning personal injury case. They are typically only awarded in cases that are malicious.

Within the compensatory category, there are two types of damages -- special and general damages. These damages are awarded to personal injury victims to make the victim whole. In other words, special and general damages are awarded in an attempt to return the victim to the financial position they were in before the injury.

What Are Special Damages?

Special damages, also called economic damages, are financial losses that can be quantified or calculated into dollar amounts. These are the hard costs that you have sustained as a result of your injury, as well as those you will sustain in the future. Specific damages include losses in the following areas:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes all medical expenses associated with your injuries, from when the injuries happened to the present, and any expected expenses in the future. This is a crucial part of your personal injury claim, so you must keep very good records of all expenses, including emergency room and hospital charges, doctors’ fees, ambulance service, test and lab expenses, cost of physical therapy and rehabilitation services.
  • Loss of Wages: This includes all earnings and wages that are you have lost from the time of your injury through the present, as well as for the time in the future that you will not be able to work due to your injury.
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: When it’s proven that your injuries will impair or prohibit your ability to return to work indefinitely, you may be awarded compensation for your loss of future earning capacity.
  • Incidental Expenses: You may incur out-of-pocket expenses due to your injury that you can seek damages for. These incidental expenses include things like medical aids or devices such as wheelchairs or crutches, the cost of hiring household help to perform tasks that you are no longer able to, the expenses related to modifying your home to accommodate wheelchair access, and any other expenses you wouldn’t have if you had not been injured.
  • Property Damage: If there was any type of property damage (defective product, car accident, etc.), you might be awarded compensation for the costs to replace or repair the property.

What Are General Damages?

General damages, also called non-economic damages, are assigned to non-monetary losses suffered due to your injury. These types of damages are unique to each case. They include:

  • Pain and Suffering – Damages may be awarded for the pain and suffering you’ve sustained as a result of the injury. 
  • Loss of Consortium – In some cases, the spouse of the victim may be awarded damages for the loss of affection, comfort, and sexual relations that result from the injury sustained by the victim.
  • Mental Anguish or Emotional Distress – The mental anguish or emotional distress that the injury or accident caused you may be assigned compensatory damages. However, these are typically only awarded when the defendant’s actions were intentional.
  • Disability or Disfigurement – If your injury includes permanent disability or disfigurement, you may receive additional compensation.
  • Funeral Expenses – If the injury resulted in a death, funeral expenses might be covered with general damages.

Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney

Because personal injury cases involve physical injuries and medical records, conditions, and costs, it’s crucial to have a legal team that has access to medical experts to consult on your case.

At Ross Feller Casey, we have both experienced personal injury attorneys and medical doctors on our staff to help our clients receive the compensation they deserve. We have a proven track record of multimillion-dollar financial recoveries and landmark verdicts in catastrophic personal injury lawsuits.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, our legal team can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for your free case review, and know that there is never a charge to you until we win your case.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.