What Are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Being in an accident can be stressful, especially if you have suffered severe injuries and your car has been badly damaged. In most states when the accident was not your fault, you are able to receive compensation for your losses from the other party’s car insurance company. This compensation is called “damages”.

There are two general types of damages that are awarded in most personal injury cases, including compensatory and punitive. There are also wrongful death damages that are awarded to the surviving family to cover things like funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional distress.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages awarded. These are meant to compensate you for your losses including:

  • Medical bills
  • Long term recovery costs
  • Vehicle and other property damages
  • Lost wages due to missed workdays
  • Lost future earnings due to a permanent disability

These types of damages may also include less-concrete losses such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship.

Punitive Damages

These types of damages are awarded in rare cases that are usually extreme and when someone is proven to have been acting in a malicious or negligent manner causing an accident and severe injuries to another person. Examples of this include drunk driving, assault or even fraud that causes someone or many people financial harm.

Cases are sometimes also brought against large companies when they have a defective product, or a prescription has caused serious health issues. Both compensatory and punitive damages can be awarded, so the injured party is covered for their losses, plus an additional amount far exceeding this to make up for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life and to make an example of the responsible party. The point of the extra compensation is to discourage them or other companies from repeating the offense.

Claiming Fair Coverage

If you have suffered serious injuries and property damages from an accident that is not your fault, it is vital that you collect enough compensation from the other party so you can fully recover and are not left in financial ruin. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the laws in your state, including statutes of limitations, and help you present adequate evidence, so you are more likely to obtain fair financial coverage.

Keep in mind, it is usually better to wait to speak with an insurance company until after you discuss your case with a lawyer, like a Denver personal injury lawyer from Richard J. Banta, P.C., as they might try to settle with you quickly and for far less than you deserve.