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Types of Damages in Personal Injury Case
Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Most personal injury damages are classified as "compensatory," meaning that they are intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for what was lost due to the accident or injury.
A compensatory damages award is meant to make the injured plaintiff "whole" again from a monetary standpoint (to the extent that's possible). This means trying to put a dollar figure on all the consequences of an accident.
Some compensatory damages are relatively easy to quantify -- like reimbursement for property damage and medical bills.
But it's harder to place a monetary value on pain and suffering or the inability to enjoy hobbies because of physical limitations caused by lingering accident-related injuries.
Below is a rundown of the various types of compensatory damages that are common in many personal injury cases:
A personal injury damages award typically includes the cost of medical care associated with the accident -- reimbursement for the treatment you've already received and compensation for the estimated cost of medical care you'll need in the future because of the accident.
You may be entitled to compensation for the accident's impact on your salary and wages -- not just income you've already lost but also the money you would have been able to make in the future were it not for the accident. In personal injury legalese, a damage award based on future income is characterized as compensation for an accident victim's "loss of earning capacity."
If any vehicles, clothing or other items were damaged as a result of the accident, you'll likely be entitled to reimbursement for repairs or compensation for the fair market value of the property that was lost.
Pain and Suffering
You may be entitled to get compensation for pain and serious discomfort you suffered during the accident and in its immediate aftermath -- also for any ongoing pain that can be attributed to the accident.
Usually linked to more serious accidents, emotional distress damages are meant to compensate a personal injury plaintiff for the psychological impact of an injury -- including fear, anxiety, and sleep loss. Some states consider emotional distress as part of any "pain and suffering" damage that is awarded to a personal injury plaintiff.
Loss of Enjoyment
When injuries caused by an accident keep you from enjoying day-to-day pursuits like hobbies, exercise, and other recreational activities, you may be entitled to receive "loss of enjoyment" damages.
Loss of Consortium
In personal injury cases, "loss of consortium" damages typically relate to the impact the injuries have on the plaintiff's relationship with their spouse -- the loss of companionship or the inability to maintain a sexual relationship, for example.
Some states also consider the separate impact on the relationship between a parent and their child when one is injured. In some cases, loss of consortium damages are awarded directly to the affected family member rather than to the injured plaintiff.
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