If you have been the victim of an accident through no fault of your own and you have suffered an injury, you may feel overwhelmed. This is completely and totally understandable. Being involved in an unexpected accident can be shocking and unsettling to say the least.
After such a situation occurs, the first and most important thing to do is seek immediate medical care.
Immediately after an accident, it can be difficult to tell the exact extent of any potential injuries. As a result, it is important to have a trained physician examine you immediately and to follow through with all medical care that is recommended. After doing so, however, many people begin to realize that, unfortunately, as a result of the accident, medical bills can begin to quickly mount up. And that is not even to mention the fact that these expenses are in addition to the financial difficulties that may be caused by having to miss time from work.
Am I Entitled to Personal Injury Damages?
As expenses and financial difficulties begin to increase, you might find yourself feeling that it is more than a little unfair that you bear the burden of these costs when you did not cause the accident that is responsible for them. If so, you are entirely correct. If you have not yet done so, it can be a very wise decision to search for and consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who might be able to advise you as to whether or not you have a case and what potential damages you might be able to receive.
As far as personal injury cases are concerned, many are generally aware that the opportunity to file a lawsuit exists but remain unclear as to exactly what types of damages may be available. This is understandable, as the law can often be complex and confusing. Certainly, consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in the area of personal injury law is the best way to find out what type of compensation you may be entitled to.
In the meantime, however, a broad overview of the various types of compensation available to those who file a personal injury lawsuit can be quite helpful. In a personal injury case, damages are paid to an injured person, commonly referred to as the plaintiff, by the person or the company found to be legally responsible for the accident at issue. In some cases, damages are awarded by a judge or jury after a full trial, and in other cases, the parties agree to a settlement prior to a verdict being rendered.
Essentially, there are two broad categories of damages awarded in a personal injury: case-compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages are those that seek to reimburse or to compensate an injured party for the harm that they have suffered. The majority of personal injury damages are, in fact, classified as compensatory. These damages are intended to make the plaintiff “whole” from a monetary standpoint, as much as possible. Common examples of compensatory damages in personal injury cases include:
- Medical Treatment: Certainly, after an accident, there can be numerous medical expenses – past, current, and future. A personal injury award for damages will almost always include damages for medical care associated with the accident. That will include payment for bills already incurred as well as payments made based on estimated future medical costs.
- Income: in some cases, your injury may cause you to miss a significant amount of work. It may even result in your inability to return to your job. In these cases, you may be entitled to damages, not only for income already lost but also for the money you would have been able to earn in the future were it not for the accident. This is often also referred to as “loss of earning capacity”.
- Property: If any of your personal property was damaged as a result of the accident, you may be entitled to reimbursement for repairs to the property or compensation for the fair market value of the property that was lost.
- Pain and Suffering: If, as a result of the accident, you sustained serious discomfort that is ongoing and significant, you may be entitled to compensation for that pain and suffering. Other damages may, in some more rare circumstances, be also available for emotional distress if the accident caused a significant psychological impact (such as fear or anxiety) that can be proven to affect you physically.
- Loss of Enjoyment and/or Consortium: If, as a result of the accident, you are unable to enjoy things you previously loved (hobbies, activities, even a full and emotionally healthy relationship with your spouse), you may be entitled to compensatory damages as a result.
While this is a list of many common types of compensatory damages, it is not exhaustive or exclusive. Certainly, consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable about the law and who understands the particular circumstances of your case can be helpful in ensuring that you receive all of the benefits you may be entitled to.
In addition to compensatory damages, there are some cases in which the defendant’s conduct is particularly horrific or egregious. In those situations, a plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages (coming from the root word “to punish”) are intended to do exactly that. These sorts of damages are awarded to the plaintiff in order to punish the defendant for his or her conduct – essentially to hurt them financially in order to serve as a deterrent for any future similar conduct. Punitive damages are often capped at a certain amount that is dependent upon your state and the particular circumstances. Again, an attorney will be able to advise you as to any damages for which you may be eligible.
Call 303 Legal Today
At 303 Legal, we would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have about personal injury suits and the damages that you may be entitled to if you are eligible to file a lawsuit as a result of an accident in which you’ve been involved. We would welcome the opportunity to talk to you soon.