What Damages Are Available in Personal Injury Cases?

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(Newswire.net — March 2, 2023) — Before you file a claim or pursue litigation to recover compensation for your accident-related injuries, it is important to understand what damages are available in personal injury cases. Learning about the damages can help you determine the type and amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries. 

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the victim for the losses that resulted from the accident. Here are the two categories of compensatory damages:  

Special Damages 

Special damages are also called economic damages, which are the victim’s financial losses due to the accident. The following are examples of special damages:

  • Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Potential:  When a person suffers injuries from an accident, they may have to undergo some form of treatment or rest. The victim may be unable to resume their job and suffer a loss of income which can be compensated through the personal injury award. Loss of earning potential is awarded to compensate the victim for potential loss of future income. This type of compensation is more common when the victim has suffered severe injuries in the accident.
  • Property Damage:  This compensation is for a vehicle, or other types of property, that was damaged as a result of the accident and had to get repaired or replaced. 
  • Medical Expenses:  Medical expenses can quickly accumulate after the accident. These expenses can include costs of medical treatment, prescription medications, surgeries, x-rays, medical tests, follow-up doctor appointments, physical or occupational therapy, hospitalization, rehabilitation, the ambulance ride, medical devices, future vehicle accommodations, and costs of home nursing care.  

General Damages

General damages, also known as non-economic damages, can be more complicated to calculate as they are all intangible losses suffered by the victim due to the accident. Here are the common types of general damages: 

  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: People who end up with debilitating injuries, including a disability, traumatic brain injury, or amputation, may not be able to enjoy life as they could before the accident. In such a case, they can be awarded monetary compensation for loss of enjoyment of life. 
  • Pain and Suffering:  Pain and suffering damages can be awarded to victims as reimbursement for the mental anguish and trauma caused by the accident. 
  • Disfigurement or Disability: Accident victims can also be awarded compensation for experiencing a lower quality of life after suffering from a permanent disability or disfigurement in the accident. 

Wrongful Death Damages

If a person dies in an accident due to another person’s negligence, their surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim. They can receive compensation for loss of consortium or companionship, funeral and burial costs, emotional distress suffered by the surviving family members, and loss of financial support of the victim. In some cases, if the accident victim had been receiving treatment for their injuries prior to death, the surviving family members can also get compensated for the victim’s medical expenses. Getting guidance from personal injury lawyers in Pittsburgh can help you navigate the personal injury claim. 

Punitive Damages 

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are not meant to compensate the victim for their losses; instead, they are awarded by courts as a punishment. The defendant pays these damages in addition to paying the victim compensatory damages. Punitive damages are often awarded in wrongful death cases; however, in other personal injury cases, the court can award the victim punitive damages if it is proven that the defendant acted with gross negligence or malicious intent.