When a person considers filing a personal injury lawsuit over a car accident, slip and fall, or any other kind of injury, it is reasonable to ask “What is my case really worth?” The answer comes down to “damages” and figuring out what your injuries have cost you monetarily, physically, and mentally.
In a personal injury case, money damages are paid to an injured person (the plaintiff) by the person or entity who is found to be legally responsible for the accident (the defendant or their insurer). A damage award can be agreed upon after a negotiated settlement, or may be ordered by a judge or jury following a court trial.
The most prevalent type of damages in a personal injury case are compensatory damages. Compensatory damages mean those that are intended to compensate the injured individual for what was lost due to the accident or injury. A compensatory damages award is meant to make the injured person “whole” again from a monetary standpoint. This means trying to put a dollar figure on all the consequences of an accident. Some compensatory damages are relatively easy to quantify — like reimbursement for property damage and medical bills. But it’s harder to place a monetary value on pain and suffering or the inability to enjoy hobbies because of physical limitations caused by lingering accident-related injuries.
Here is an overview of the types of compensatory damages that are common in many personal injury cases:
Medical treatment. A personal injury damages award almost always includes the cost of medical care associated with the accident. This includes reimbursement for treatment you’ve already received and compensation for the estimated cost of medical care you’ll need in the future because of the accident.
Income. You may be entitled to compensation for the accident’s impact on your salary and wages. These damages may include not just income you have already lost but also the money you would have been able to make in the future, were it not for the accident.
Property loss. If any vehicles, clothing, or other items were damaged as a result of the accident, you’ll likely be entitled to reimbursement for repairs or compensation for the fair market value of the property that was lost.
Pain and suffering. You may be entitled to get compensation for pain and serious discomfort you suffered during the accident and in its immediate aftermath; this may include any ongoing pain that can be attributed to the accident.
Loss of enjoyment. When injuries caused by an accident keep you from enjoying day-to-day pursuits like hobbies, exercise, and other recreational activities, you may be entitled to receive “loss of enjoyment” damages.
Loss of consortium. In personal injury cases, “loss of consortium” damages typically relate to the impact the injuries have on the plaintiff’s relationship with their spouse which includes the loss of companionship or the inability to maintain a sexual relationship, for example. In some cases, loss of consortium damages are awarded directly to the affected family member rather than to the injured plaintiff.
If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligence of an individual or a business, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884.