Assessing Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Damages are awarded for a variety of different types of injuries in personal injury lawsuits, including the cost of medical and emergency care, lost future earnings, diminished ability to enjoy once-loved activities, as well as emotional and physical pain and suffering endured as a result of the injury. If you have been injured in any type of accident, you may have already received an offer of settlement from the negligent party or his or her insurer. Before you accept any offer for compensation, you should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you accurately assess your damages.
The most common types of damages that may be awarded in personal injury suits are compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate for the injuries suffered as a result of an accident. There are two types of compensatory damages – actual damages, such as the out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the injury, and general damages, which may include emotional distress or diminished ability to enjoy once-loved activities. Actual damages may include lost wages, medical bills paid, property damage, and any other economic losses that may have resulted from the accident.
General damages are awarded for injuries for which it is often difficult to assign a dollar value. These types of damages may include loss of enjoyment of life activities, loss of consortium (care, companionship, and affection from your spouse), lost future earnings, physical pain, and emotional suffering. The following table lists some of the different types of actual and general damages that may be claimed in personal injury cases:
Actual Damages General Damages
Medical and hospital bills
Future medical bills
Lost future earnings
Cost of household nursing care required during recovery
Physical pain endured
Cost of wheelchair, crutches, etc.
Cost of rental car
Loss of consortium (companionship and emotional support of a loved one in a wrongful death case)
Cost of repairing or replacing damaged property
Physical disfigurement or permanent injury
Punitive damages are imposed as a means of punishing the defendant for intentional conduct or gross negligence in causing your injuries. These types of damages are reserved for conduct that is so egregious that a penalty is warranted — both to punish the defendant and to deter the defendant from engaging in the same type of negligent behavior in the future. Contact the personal injury experts at Levenbaum Trachtenberg to discuss which types of damages may be applicable in your case.
Factors Affecting Damage Awards
The amount of damages you are awarded in your personal injury case will depend on several factors. The following are just some of the factors that may affect the damage award in your case:
- Nature and severity of your injuries
- Comparative negligence on your part in causing your own injuries
- Your age at the time of injury
- Credibility of both the defendant and the plaintiff
- Credibility of witnesses
Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers can evaluate your case and help you calculate the full extent of damages in your case. Call Levenbaum
Trachtenberg today at 602-271-0183 for a free consultation regarding your personal injury case.