If you have suffered an injury on account of someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior, you may file a lawsuit to recover damages. Recoverable damages can be categorized in different ways, mainly as: economic (special) and non-economic (general) or compensatory (special, general) and punitive. In the following, we will cover the main types and analyze the differences between them.
General Compensatory Damages
General (or non-economic) damages in a personal injury case account for non-monetary losses or emotional trauma. Due to the nature of these aspects, it is more challenging to associate these with a set amount. Evaluating the value of compensation received by the plaintiff is more subjective than with economic damages.
These types of damages most commonly include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Physical disfigurement or impairment
- Losing enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Lower life quality
Such personal experiences as mental anguish or losing enjoyment of life are unique experiences to each person, so there is no exact science behind assigning a dollar value to them. Several other factors also come into play when evaluating non-economic damages, like the attorney’s skills and the emotional impact a specific case has over the jurors.
While there is no set limit on the maximum amount of economic damages, there is a cap on non-economic damages in some states. To find out if any such limits apply to your case, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm today.
Special Compensatory Damages
Special compensatory damages account for the economic losses suffered on account of the defendant’s actions. Unlike the general damages, these are easily quantifiable based on evidence provided by the plaintiff.
While there are no two personal injury cases that look the same, there are, however, some common elements. These are some of the most often encountered types of special damages:
- Medical expenses
- Costs associated with the repair and replacement of damaged property
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Loss of personal items that cannot be replaced
For this stage, it is crucial to have a paper trail that backs up your request. Make sure to keep all the bills, receipts, and any documents linked to your medical care or property damage caused by the incident in question. Add all of these to your case file, and trust your lawyer to take out any pages that might not be relevant for proceedings. Also, always keep at least a copy of each document.
These types of damages may be awarded only under a specific set of circumstances. A plaintiff must prove the incident was caused by the defendant’s malicious behavior or that they engaged in activities of fraud regarding the lawsuit. Some of the most common factors that may offer solid legal grounds for pursuing punitive damages are:
- Financial harm caused by fraudulent acts
- Aggravated battery
- Sexual assault
Punitive damages may also surface in high-profile cases involving prescription medication or different consumer goods produced by large (and wealthy) corporations. It is always best to bring up this issue with your lawyer and determine any viable way to include this in your case.
Wrongful Death Damages
When an incident caused by the negligence or mal intent of another ends in a fatality, the case qualifies as a wrongful death claim. The lawsuit will be filed by the survivors of the victim against the person or legal entity deemed responsible for the event. This path opens up a whole new perspective on damages. Most commonly, the following are covered:
- Funeral benefits
- Medical expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of future earnings
- Economic support (which might also include academic help)
Furthermore, wrongful death cases rely on a preponderance of evidence to reach resolution. This means that the defendant has to be deemed more likely to be guilty than not guilty by the evidence presented at court.
Seek Legal Counsel
To learn more about how to file a personal injury lawsuit, the statutes of limitations that may apply, and to maximize a beneficial outcome, contact a qualified lawyer. It will be helpful to have expert legal guidance throughout the legal process to increase your chances of recovering the highest amount of damages.
Many law firms offer a free initial consultation, during which the victim can go over their case with an attorney. During this discussion, the groundwork for legal proceedings can be laid. Afterward, it will be up to the plaintiff to decide whether or not they want to move ahead with that particular legal expert or someone else.