Potential Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

 
 

There are many types of damages that may be recoverable from those who are at fault for causing you or your loved ones harm as a result of an accident or injury. The economic recovery you may be entitled to will depend on the kind of harm you or your loved ones suffered or are suffering. Following are some of the categories of legal compensation a plaintiff may recover in a personal injury lawsuit:

  • Compensatory damages are for the purpose of returning a plaintiff in the position that existed before the harm was done, or to make the victim of a wrongful act “whole again”. Compensatory damages can be divided into general and special damages.

  • General damages such as for the physical and mental pain that was endured as the result of an injury are difficult to prove with clear specificity or to quantify. Nevertheless, such harm occurs as the result of a wrongful act and compensation is therefore awarded. General damages are also the amount of compensation required to restore the fair market value of the property to its owner.

    • Special damages cover losses due to circumstances after the harm or losses have occurred, and include such items as medical expenses. Recovery requires detailed proof that the losses were sustained as a result of the injury in question, and a showing of the amount of money involved.
    • Future damages are for anticipated additional harms or losses that will result from the injury or accident. There must be a satisfactory basis for determining the certainty that these harms or losses will occur. Otherwise they are considered speculative and not subject to recovery.
  • Incidental damages include reasonable expenses, charges, or other costs that flow from the harm or loss. They may include such items as the cost of photocopies or delivery expenses.

  • Punitive damages may be assessed against the party at fault as punishment for his of her willful and malicious behavior, and to deter others from acting similarly.

It should be noted that in most states, a person receiving an injury or involved in an accident has a legal obligation to minimize, to the extent possible, the consequences of the harm suffered. This obligation of the injured party may include undergoing appropriate medical care or seeking alternative employment if his or her usual line of work cannot be continued.

This "mitigation of damages", as it is called, denies the plaintiff any part of the damages a court or jury deems could reasonably have been avoided. If, for example, a plaintiff foregoes surgery contrary to his or her physician’s recommendation, he or she may not recover damages for further injury or harm that could have been avoided by the surgery. Failure to see a physician promptly after an injury has occurred may likewise reduce the amount of compensation for recovery.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct – whether caused by an auto accident, medical malpractice or a defective product, please contact us.  We will help you find a personal injury attorney near you who can help you recover the financial compensation to which you are entitled.