Since the at-fault motorist was drunk, our client was entitled to punitive damages based on his reckless conduct.
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.
You’ve heard about people in other lawsuits who seek money for “pain and suffering.” You know the stereotypes associated with those damages.
So should you, in your unique situation, be entitled to recover damages for “pain and suffering?”
Since it's formation in 1980, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has made leaps in the education of Americans about drunk driving. Even today there are more and more studies and statistics available to highlight the dangers. From Whatcom County lawyer Bill Coats, here is a summary of statistics on drunk driving.
It may feel overwhelming to dig through all the complexities and bills at such a difficult time, but this short article by Bill Coats Law, a personal injury firm in Bellingham, WA, guides survivors through the morass. Click here to learn what survivors need to know about recoverable damages in wrongful death cases.
Bill Coats Law, a personal injury firm in Bellingham, WA, specializes in wrongful death lawsuits and the complexities of car accident cases. A common question when family members come out of the fog and trauma of losing a loved one in a car accident is what kinds of damages are available to help them dig out of the financial tragedy. Click to read about your rights in wrongful death lawsuits.
Even a fairly minor car accident can cause long-term injuries requiring extensive medical treatment – it is crucial to know how to estimate the cost of future medical treatment. Bill Coats Law represents car accident victims and writes on next steps to take if you are hurt by someone else's negligent driving.
One of the most important aspects of figuring out a fair settlement is including money for lost wages. Lost wages don't just mean the time off of work someone had to take while recovering from injuries. What if you can't go back to the same job you had before and must take a lower paying job instead? Check out this video on wage loss to determine if you might be due more money for your claim than the insurance company is trying to offer.
Here is one client's story of how a series of tragic mistakes in the name of having a good time drinking at the lake led to the death of a teenager. Lawyer Bill Coats represented the family of this teen in recovering $2.5M in a wrongful death lawsuit in which the adults who should have been supervising were too drunk to do so.
It's not uncommon for people ejected from a vehicle in a car crash to have life-threatening injuries. When that accident is due to someone else's negligence, especially drug or drugged driving, it may seem like a cruel, needless tragedy to the victims who weren't even driving. If this kind of case has happened to you, know that you're not alone. Here's a story of one personal injury accident client for an attorney based in Whatcom County, Washington, who went through such a horrible scenario but was compensated fairly. Even if it can't turn back the clock and change what happened, it can help a victim cope.