Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases

October 11, 2016 — by Mark T. Flickinger, JD
Tags: Personal Injury Wrongful Death

A gavel resting on a judge’s benchIf you have recently been seriously injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent or deliberately wrongful actions, you probably find yourself faced with unexpected and overwhelming financial burdens due to hospital bills, lost wages, and other losses and expenses. In light of this, you have every reason to be considering legal action and, if so, to be wondering what your possible personal injury claim might be worth. After all, it isn’t fair that you should be liable for debts that aren’t your fault, especially when you already have to deal with the physical and emotional consequences of your injuries.

Before you can understand how much your personal injury claim might be worth however, it is important that you first understand what the term “damages” means, as well as what types of damages you are able to recover according to the law. It is even more important that you select a personal injury attorney who is skilled at identifying the full measure of damages to which you are entitled, as you get only one opportunity to seek compensation through the civil court system. If your attorney fails to identify a current or future loss or expense that you deserve to be compensated for, you permanently forfeit the right to seek that compensation once your case has been settled or tried to verdict.

Fortunately, you have access to one of the most diligent legal teams in the nation at the law firm of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton. Once they have helped you understand the types of damages in personal injury cases, our Provo, UT attorneys will set out to ensure that you receive every cent that is rightfully yours. All you need to do to get started is contact our law firm to arrange for an evaluation of your case today.

What Does “Damages” Mean?

The term “damages” refers to monetary compensation awarded to the plaintiff to cover losses and expenses related to an injury. This compensation is provided by the defendant due to his or her being responsible for the accident that caused the plaintiff’s injury. While most damages are obtained through settlements reached before a case goes to trial, some are awarded as the result of jury verdicts.

Types of Damages

There are two basic types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages can further be broken down into special damages and general damages.

Special damages include compensation for losses and expenses that have actual, specific dollar amounts attached to them, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damages. Special damages can usually be demonstrated through receipts, pay stubs, and other tangible methods.

On the other hand, general damages are more abstract. They include compensation for non-tangible injuries, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life. These amounts must be estimated and can be difficult to prove, requiring particular skill on the part of the attorney.

Unlike compensatory damages, which are intended to compensate the plaintiff for actual losses and expenses related to his or her injuries, punitive damages are awarded strictly to punish the defendant for instances of egregiously negligent behavior. Usually, punitive damages are awarded only when the defendant’s behavior is so wrongful that it borders on, or crosses the border over to, maliciousness.

Arrange for an Evaluation of Your Case Today

To arrange for an evaluation of your personal injury case, please contact the law firm of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton today.