What Damages Can You Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The damages in a personal injury lawsuit refer to the different types of compensation awarded to those who have suffered losses or harm. Damages come in a few different shapes and sizes but fall under either the umbrella of compensatory damages (either special or general compensatory damages) or punitive damages.
All damages that you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit will fall under these broad umbrellas. How do you know which ones you are owed? The trusted Houston personal injury attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta are here to tell you.
Common personal injury claims
Before we talk about what types of damages are recoverable, we should outline what is considered a personal injury case and what common cases look like.
You won’t be successful in suing for personal injury unless you were hurt because of someone else’s actions. The common thread that many personal injury lawsuits share is that the injuries sustained by the plaintiff were preventable. Common types of personal injury claims include:
- Workplace injuries like industrial accidents, plant explosions, oil rig accidents, or construction accidents.
- Auto accidents, whether they be car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents — or whether you were struck by an uninsured or a drunk driver.
- Daycare provider negligence
- Defective product liability care
- Nursing home abuse
- Cruise ship sexual harassment
Whether you’re suing an uninsured driver for damages or were hit by a drunk driver and need to make things right, the other thing that personal injury lawsuits have in common is that they need to be carried out by an experienced and aggressive personal injury attorney, like those at Grimes & Fertitta.
Types of damages in personal injury cases
What are the different types of damages in a personal injury lawsuit? You might hear the types of damages in a lawsuit described as economic, noneconomic, and punitive, but the court will call personal injury damages either compensatory or punitive.
Most personal injury damages will fall under the umbrella of compensatory damages. These damages are meant to compensate you for costs incurred by or associated with your injury — whether those costs are considered economic or noneconomic.
Compensatory damages fall into a few different categories.
Special compensatory damages
Special compensatory damages are often referred to as economic damages and are intended to compensate you for economic losses (in the form of expenses, lost income, etc.) as a result of your injury. Special compensatory damages include:
- Medical expenses include hospital bills, ambulance fees, surgery and lab costs, the cost of medications, the cost of any ongoing treatment, and the ongoing cost of caretaking as a result of injury.
- General damages for property damage resulting from the accident that caused your injury.
- Loss of past and future wages or benefits caused by the accident.
General compensatory damages
General compensatory damages, sometimes called noneconomic damages, are damages intended to compensate you for a range of more intangible losses that aren’t as easy to quantify monetarily. Overall loss of quality of life will be addressed by general compensatory damages, the exact dollar amount of which is usually decided by the court. General compensatory damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering damages may be awarded for long-term complications resulting from your injury, as well as projected suffering that you will continue to endure.
- Emotional or mental anguish can be a reason for compensation if you begin to suffer from depression or PTSD as a result of your accident.
- Disfigurement or impairment damages are especially likely if you are impaired in any way from doing things that you did before your accident.
Wrongful death damages
Wrongful death damages are exactly what they sound like: damages intended to compensate those who have experienced the unimaginable suffering that comes with the death of a loved one because of another party’s negligent actions.
- Medical expenses leading up to death make sure that the costs of the victim’s medical care are taken care of.
- Loss of companionship damages usually applies to a partner, spouse, or another family member who had a close relationship with the victim.
- Loss of financial contribution damages covers the effect that the loss of the victim’s income can have on a family.
Unlike compensatory damages, which are intended to compensate the plaintiff for their actual losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongful conduct and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
Punitive damages are much rarer and are typically awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious, intentional, or reckless.
Call the attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta to represent you in your personal injury lawsuit
There are many damages that you can recover in a personal injury lawsuit, but what you get will be determined by your specific accident or injury — that and the quality of your personal injury lawyer.
Whether you’re looking for a Houston truck accident lawyer or an attorney for a workplace injury, the personal injury pros at Grimes & Fertitta are here to fight by your side. As former insurance company lawyers they know exactly how large companies avoid paying victims what they really deserve — and they know just how to stop them.
Call Grimes & Fertitta today at (713) 224-7644 or contact us online for a free case evaluation today!
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