If you have been injured in an accident involving someone else’s negligence, you may be interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit but unfamiliar with the legal terminology that applies. For example, you may not understand what is meant by “damages.” The term “damages” refers to the losses that you have suffered as a result of the accident. It also refers to the money that the court may order the responsible party to pay you to make up for those losses.
There are several different ways to categorize damages. In an attempt to help you understand what you may be able to recover in your personal injury lawsuit, here are some of the different types of damages.
Compensatory Versus Punitive Damages
Compensatory damages are those meant to make up for the specific losses that you suffered as a result of the accident. For example, if you missed work while recovering from your injuries, compensatory damages repay you your lost wages. If you had to pay for your medical bills out of your own pocket, compensatory damages reimburse you.
Punitive damages are above and beyond any losses that you suffered as a result of the accident. They aren’t really intended for your benefit but are meant to punish the person who caused your injury if his or her behavior was particularly reckless or unreasonably thoughtless. Punitive damages may not be available in all states, and even when they are available, some jurisdictions have placed caps on them.
Economic Versus Non Economic Damages
There are two different types of compensatory damages. Economic damages are those to which you can put a specific price tag. For example, the amount you have paid in medical expenses is printed on your bill, so you can claim the specific dollar amount. You can also calculate precisely the wages that you lost from missing work due to recovery from your injury. If you are no longer able to work at all due to your injury, you can even calculate your loss of earning potential.
Noneconomic damages represent an incalculable loss due to consequences of your injury, such as emotional distress or pain and suffering. Even though you cannot fix an exact price tag to these losses, they still have a profoundly negative effect on your life, meaning that you deserve compensation for them.
Contact a personal injury lawyer, like from Davis & Brusca, if you are having trouble understanding the compensation you can claim for a personal injury case. An attorney can explain to you what your case is worth.