Understanding the Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

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Personal injury cases are difficult for both the plaintiff and the victim. Many times these individuals are still recovering from physical injuries during negotiations or trials. In some instances, they are trying to figure out who they are after being permanently disabled. Therefore, while settlement negotiations or a lawsuit is difficult, they are necessary to seek a reward and help make the victim financially whole or better. This works by awarding damages.

Damages are financial penalties placed on the defendant or their insurer to help victims recoup any monetary losses and, in some cases, earn a reward. These financial windfalls are typically awarded in one of two ways — through compensatory damages or punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are the losses that have an absolute value. For example, medical expenses for injuries or rehabilitation treatments. Also, lost wages for missed work or career changes. Not every financial loss is so easily measured, though. For example, pain and suffering is a common complaint, but it is not always apparent how much such hurt has cost someone. Loss of consortium typically falls under the pain and suffering umbrella and deals with the changes in intimate or personal relationships as a result of the injury. Also, loss of social standing falls under the category of pain and suffering. Even though these injuries are not proven through x-rays, each is as real as a broken bone, and the judicial system allows plaintiffs to argue their merit.

Punitive Damages

Unlike compensatory damages, which are meant to make a plaintiff financially whole, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant. The allowance of such claims is dependent on the intent of the defendant. If a claim reaches the level of criminal neglect or intentional harm, then a plaintiff can argue for such injuries in front of a jury. However, while the burden of proof is not as high as in criminal cases, it is still challenging to prove intent, especially if there is no pattern of behavior to indicate such an act.

Personal injury cases are challenging for victims, but they are necessary. If you were injured in an accident and it has had life-altering effects, or even if you were lucky enough to recover from your injuries fully, you should contact a personal injury lawyer, like a DC personal injury lawyer, to discuss your legal options. Injuries cost money and take time to heal; there is no reason that you should suffer for the neglect of someone else, whether intentional or not.

Thanks to Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. for their insight into the different types of damages in a personal injury claim. 

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