Types Of Damages Available in a Personal Injury Action
Damages in a personal injury case are called compensatory damages and are meant to put put a monetary value on any and every part of an injury given to an individual. It is widely acknowledged that no amount of money can ever truly “make things right” but a jury is instructed to consider every type of damage claimed and make a finding about the loss sustained in as a result of those damages.
Actual damages, are damages to reimburse for money out of pocket for expenses like medical bills, damage to property and any income lost as a result of the injury.
General damages are another category of damages that would be awarded for the suffering or pain of the individual, the amount of stress, fear and hurt experienced, the loss of society or companionship (consortium) and the loss of that future enjoyment an individual would have in their life.
An injured person can also be awarded damages for any property that has been damaged or destroyed as well. In a collision or wreck damage to the car or truck is common. The bill for the repair and diminished value of the car are both recoverable and should be considered as well as any other items damaged in an injury or any reimbursement for any rental car or other vehicle expense as the car or truck is being repaired.
Loss of Income
If an injury causes the plaintiff to not be able to work, a plaintiff should recover whatever would have been earned during that time. In this lost time at work time should be included for any lost work due to traveling to or from a doctor’s office or any time spent in the doctor’s office. It could also be the case that in injury slows a worker down and does not allow them to make as much as they would if they did not have the injury. An injury that slows a worker down, or has effects over the rest of the worker’s life should be considered as part of any recoverable damages.
Pain and Suffering
Accompanied with injuries and often the most difficult to relate to are the amount of pain the individual has endured or the amount of suffering that this individual has faced. It is easy to see pain on some individual’s faces, on others not so much but what the individual reports and the type of treatment they have revived will make this picture clearer. How much pain medicine has this person needed? what kind of treatment did they receive? How long was the recovery period.
Also, hearing from friends and family as to the amount of pain the person has been in or their inability to do the things they have normally been able to do will show the change in how well the person is living and how much pain they may be in day to day. For those who are in constant pain, it is difficult to put a number on what the value of pain over the rest of your life, taking away some of those special moments will be.
Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress
Mental anguish and emotional distress may seem similar to pain and suffering, but are different because they are the internal mind’s response to the actual event. Fear, uncertainty, stress, embarrassment, and grief all fall in this category. Again, this category is not visual but has to do with the experience of the individual and can be seen by the testimony of the individual as well as by family members and Doctors reports.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of Consortium has to do with an injured or deceased person’s inability to be involved as readily in relationship with family members or friends in the same way as before. Often injuries causing depression or brain injuries can have this effect and the effect of this loss in the case of death is easy to see.
When someone is injured and loses a business opportunity that would have been available to the otherwise, this category of damages is available. Even when lost wages are accounted for, if an individual is unable to compete in the same way anymore.
Any injury involving medical bills has the capability of accessing this category to attempt to help the plaintiff pay those bills which have been incurred. The amount of these damages should be the full amount of the medical bill absent any consideration of where other payment may come from given that there is often a subtraction that takes place of any amounts from the total damages that has been paid for by some other source.
Future medical expenses that an individual may need as a result of the injuries involved in the case will also be made a part of this category of damages. A plaintiff is entitled to any future damage that based on the evidence is more likely than not will occur.