Types of Money Damages in Personal Injury Cases
As a follow up to my articles Do I Have a Personal Injury Case? and Defenses to Personal Injury Claims, I next want to examine the types of money damages in personal injury cases. That means, in plain English, that we’ll take a look at the types of things for which injured parties are able to obtain money in their personal injury lawsuit.
Generally speaking, it is best to think of personal injury damages as comprising two different types: compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate a plaintiff for the harms he or she suffered, and punitive damages, which are meant to punish a defendant and send a message that the defendant’s conduct was unacceptable.
Compensatory damages consist of two subsets: economic and noneconomic damages. Economic losses are those that have a dollars and cents price. So if a plaintiff is injured and incurs $500 in medical expenses, that injured plaintiff would have economic losses in the amount of $500 and would be entitled to compensatory damages in the amount of $500. Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are those damages that are not necessarily subject to a dollar and cents calculation, such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, and other harms the plaintiff suffers that, by law, the defendant is obligated to pay. These, too, are compensatory damages, though the amount of noneconomic damages will depend on the facts of each case, and a fair amount might only be recovered in a jury trial.
With these things in mind, we’ll take a look at the different types of economic and noneconomic money damages available in Virginia personal injury cases.
Economic Losses in Personal Injury Claims
– Payment for any lost wages due to plaintiff’s inability to work at their job following the injury;
– The plaintiff’s past medical expenses for hospital care, physical therapy, chiropractic care, etc., as well as any future medical expenses the plaintiff will reasonably be expected to incur in the future;
– Payment for any lessening of loss of earning capacity, as well as any lessening or loss of earning capacity the injured party can reasonably be expected to experience in the future; and
– Payment for property damage to plaintiff’s property.
Non-economic Damages in Personal Injury Claims
In addition to compensation for economic losses, injured parties are entitled to receive money for the following types of non-economic damages in personal injury claims:
– Payment for loss of society or loss of consortium, which is payment for the loss or lessening of social and family relations due to plaintiff’s injuries;
– Pain and suffering, or physical pain and mental anguish, as well as any pain and suffering and mental anguish the victim can reasonably be expected to experience in the future;
– Disfigurement and deformity as well as any related embarrassment or humiliation;
– Any past inconvenience, as well as any future inconvenience that will reasonably be expected to occur;
Damages that are available in a personal injury action are meant to fully compensate a plaintiff for the injuries he or she suffered and, to the extent possible, place the injured party in the position they would have been in had the accident never happened. For individuals who have suffered disfigurement, permanent brain or spine injuries, or other permanent catastrophic injuries, it will likely be the case that they will never return to their former selves, and no amount of treatment or services will change that. But, money awards can provide accommodations to such individuals to provide medical care and other accommodations that can maximize an injured party’s ability to live life to the fullest.
Virginia personal injury lawyer Robert E. Byrne, Jr. is able to meet and help injured individuals and their families put their lives back together after suffering serious injuries from accidents. To meet with Bob, please call him, toll free, at 855-812-9220, or, if you prefer, contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bob and the Charlottesville personal injury attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. offer free consultations and are able to meet on evenings and weekends.