If you have been injured in a car accident, or another type of accident that caused an injury, you may want to consider pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident. Depending on the nature of your injuries, the amount of damages that you receive will depend on how much your injuries have cost you financially, physically, and mentally. There are different types of damages that you may be awarded based on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of your injuries.
Compensatory damages are intended to provide financial compensation for the injuries and losses you suffered as a result of the accident. This can include medical expenses associated with the injury, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. While an exact amount for property damage and costs associated with the physical injuries can be quantified easily, it is difficult to come up with a monetary value for pain and suffering. The following are types of damages that are common in a personal injury case:
Medical Expenses: Personal injury damages will likely include the cost of medical treatment, including treatment you already received and an estimated cost for any future medical care you will need.
Lost Income: If you are unable to return to work for some time, you may be entitled to compensation that includes lost wages, as well as a loss of future earning capacity as a result of the accident.
Property Loss: Damages will also likely include compensation for the damage to your vehicle and any other personal items that were lost in the accident. The compensation will reflect the fair market value for each item lost.
Pain and Suffering: Damages may also include compensation for pain and discomfort suffered during the accident and ongoing pain associated with the accident.
Emotional Distress: If the accident has caused you to suffer from fear, anxiety, insomnia, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you will likely be compensated for this as part of pain and suffering damages.
Loss of Enjoyment: If your quality of life has been affected, and you cannot enjoy hobbies or other recreational activities, compensatory damages may cover this as well.
Loss of consortium: This relates to spousal relationships and the inability to maintain a sexual relationship due to the accident.
Punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s behavior was particularly careless or offensive. Whereas compensatory damages attempt to help make the victim whole again, the goal of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for his or her actions. It is common for punitive damages to reach tens of millions of dollars, although many states have a cap on the amount that can be awarded in personal injury cases.
It is important to understand that the amount of damages awarded can be affected by the injured person’s role in causing the accident. For example, if you live in a comparative negligence state, your compensation amount will be reflected if you were partially to blame. Certain states, including Maryland, follow the concept of contributory negligence, which means that you will not be able to recover any damages if you were partially to blame.