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What are damages in a personal injury claim?
Damages are monetary compensation awarded by a court in a civil action to an individual who has been injured through the wrongful conduct of another party. A civil action is defined as any lawsuit relating to civil matters and not criminal prosecution.
When someone suffered an injury, they may be entitled to receive economic recovery from the person or entity at fault. The amount recovered will depend upon the kinds of damages experienced because of the accident or injury. In some cases, an injured person's immediate family members may also be entitled to recover damages as well.
The types of damages that can possibly be recovered include:
Disfigurement - When an accident or injury has left a person deformed or disfigured, e.g., by scars, the injured person may be able to collect damages for mental suffering that arises due to awareness of the disfigurement.
Future Medical Expenses - If the injured person proves that they will need continued medical care as a result of the accident or injury, this type of damages may be awarded.
Household Services - The cost of hiring a person or company to help around the house while the injured person recovers from an accident or injury, provided that the expense would not have happened had the person not been injured.
Loss of Consortium - Deprivation of the benefits of married life after an accident or injury, including affection, comfort, companionship, help and assistance, and sexual relations between spouses. Usually the uninjured spouse makes the claim, and this financial recovery will depend on whether the injured spouse recovers any damages.
Loss of Society and Companionship – In wrongful death cases, loss of society and companionship damages represent the positive benefits reaped from the love, comfort, companionship, and closeness that the deceased person would have enjoyed with family members had they survived.
Lost Earning Capacity - After an accident or injury, these damages may be recovered if the injured person proves that the ability to earn money in the future has been reduced by the injuries.
Lost Wages - These damages represent the amount of money an injured person would have earned - from the date of the injury to the date of settlement or judgment.
Medical Expenses – These include bills and expenses for medical services such as doctors, hospitalization, emergency room treatment, ambulance fees, and nursing services. The injured person must demonstrate that the expenses are directly related to medical conditions resulting from his or her injury.
Mental Anguish - Any mental suffering or emotional distress associated with an accident or injury, including fear, apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, worry, feeling of lost dignity, grief, and shock.
Pain and Suffering – This is a monetary award for past and future physical pain in connection with an accident or injury. To place a monetary value on pain and suffering, the jury considers the nature of the injury, the certainty and severity of future pain, and how long the plaintiff is likely to be in pain.
Permanent Disability - These damages are typically proved by medical testimony from a doctor who has examined the injured person.
Should I Pursue an Injury Lawsuit?
For a variety of reasons, not all injury cases are good candidates for filing suit. If you believe an accident or injury has caused you damages, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.