When you have been in an accident and have been injured, figuring out how much your case is worth comes down to damages. Damages translate to a dollar figure usually determined by actual costs plus what a court (judge or jury) determine is the dollar figure equivalent to the harm you have suffered.
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit means the amount of money that is paid to the injured person by the person or company that is legally responsible. The person or company that you may be seeking payment from is the defendant or their insurance company.
There are three types of damages in a personal injury case. The first one is called compensatory damages. In other words, compensatory damages compensate the injured person (or plaintiff) for their losses caused by the accident or injury. This includes lost income, property damages, and medical care resulting from the Defendant’s misconduct. An attorney, through documents obtained during litigation, is usually able to seek a definitive amount of compensatory damages based on the injuries to a Plaintiff’s person and property.
The second type is called general damages. General damages are sought in conjunction with compensatory damages. However, these damages are typically less specific and less tangible than compensatory damages. Examples include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. General damages can also include future losses due to loss of earning capacity or future medical care. Factors to consider when evaluating the potential value of general damages in a case include a Plaintiff’s age, occupation, income, and the severity and permanency of the injuries.
The final type of damages is called punitive. Punitive damages are awarded to plaintiffs to punish the conduct and act as a deterrent to the conduct which caused injury to the plaintiff.