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Types of Damages in a Lawsuit

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Types of Damages in a Lawsuit

Types of Damages in a Lawsuit

If you’re filing a personal injury claim, it’s important to know the types of damages in a lawsuit that you can collect. Here, we will be discussing every kind of damage that you can possibly collect in a lawsuit, and giving you an idea of what you can expect to sue for after being injured by another party’s negligence.

Though no amount of compensation can make this traumatic event go away, the attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta are here to serve you and your family to fight for the justice and peace that you deserve.

Whether you need a car accident lawyer in Houston or an attorney for an industrial accident at work, call the personal injury attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta today at (713) 224-7644 to get the support you need.

How many types of damage are there?

Some people say there are three types of damages in tort cases, others say four or five. What is important is that you know what the following types of damages refer to:

  • Compensatory damages including both special and general compensatory damages
  • Wrongful death damages
  • Punitive damages, issued as punishment
  • Nominal damages, small sums awarded to commemorate a plaintiff’s victory in a civil case

If you’re curious about whether or not you would be able to collect damages after being harmed by someone else’s negligence, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about the specifics of your case. In the meantime, let’s discuss in detail the many types of damages in a lawsuit.

Continue reading: Questions to ask a personal injury lawyer

What are the 4 main types of damages?

  1. Compensatory damages

First up are compensatory damages. These damages are damages that are awarded to you to compensate for costs that are associated with your injury. These damages should be available in almost all types of injury claims and are the most prevalent damages awarded. There are a few kinds of compensatory damages.

Special compensatory damages

Often called “economic damages,” special compensatory damages are meant to reimburse you for any expenses you had to pay for or any income you lost as a result of your accident. These types of damages are typically quantifiable and include:

  • Medical expenses: Suffering minor to severe injuries such as a catastrophic brain injury can leave you with overwhelming medical expenses. Keeping track of the following bills, receipts, and the types of treatments you were given can help you receive compensation for these expenses:
    • Bills for hospital stay
    • Ambulance fees
    • Surgery and lab test costs
    • Cost of prescription medication
    • Physical therapy, rehabilitation, and pain management treatments
    • Caretaking expenses
  • Property damages: You can be awarded compensation for damages to your personal property (vehicle, bike, boat, etc.) that happened during the time of the accident.
  • Loss of wages (past and future): Any earnings that you lost or may lose in the future as a result of your accident can be compensated.

General compensatory damages

General compensatory damages are types of damages in a lawsuit that typically address the overall harm that was done due to the injury. They typically aren’t always quantifiable. There isn’t one single way to measure someone’s amount of suffering, so these damages will be unique to each plaintiff. Determining general damages often involves assigning an exact dollar amount to a subjective injury and is typically decided by the court.

  • Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering can refer to long-term physical complications due to your injury. You may ask to be awarded for pain and suffering during the injury as well as potential pain and suffering you may endure in the future. Your medical provider can establish how long they predict you’ll be in recovery from your injury and the complications that go along with it.
  • Mental anguish: If you suffer from conditions such as depression or PTSD as a result of your accident.
  • Physical disfigurement and/or impairment: The accident left you with any type of physical disability that can prevent you from doing your job or the things you used to enjoy before the injury.
  1. Wrongful death damages

If a loved one has died due to someone else’s negligent acts, you may be entitled to wrongful death damages. This type of damage is a mix of special and general compensatory damages but is only applicable in a wrongful death claim. For example, with the help of a fatal car accident lawyer in Houston, the surviving family members can file a claim for reimbursement for the following expenses:

  • Funeral or burial expenses: To help cover the expensive costs associated with a funeral/burial service for the deceased.
  • Medical expenses before the victim’s death: If the victim was in medical care as a result of the accident before their death, this would help to pay those bills.
  • Loss of companionship: This is typically awarded to the spouse, partner, or close family members of the deceased who have lost their relationship with the victim.
  • Loss of financial contribution: Loss of the victim’s income can affect the surviving family members.

Learn more about wrongful death claims: What is a wrongful death lawsuit? 

  1. Punitive damages

Punitive damages, or exemplary damages, are meant to punish the party responsible for your injury. These damages are awarded a lot less frequently than compensatory; however, if the court concludes that the compensation awarded to you won’t deter the person from committing the same act again, you may be awarded punitive damages.

  1. Nominal damages

Nominal damages are essentially damages that are awarded for the sake of the court and their records. Nominal damages are generally awarded when, although it has been established that the responsible party’s actions were wrong and caused damages to the victim, those damages don’t amount to any significant monetary cost.

Example cases for the types of damages in a lawsuit

Now that you know the types of damages available for recovery in a personal injury case, we’re going to give you some specific examples of how those damages arise in a case.

  1. Compensatory damages: Imagine a scenario in which you are suing an uninsured driver for damages. You were struck because of their negligence, and this caused you severe injuries. You need to be reimbursed for surgery, rehabilitation, and other medical bills, but also need to be compensated for the suffering caused by the accident, and are therefore also suing for emotional distress. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate you for both of these things.
  2. Wrongful death damages: Let’s say you were to lose a loved one in a tragic accident, say a husband or a father, who provided significantly for the family. Suing for wrongful death damages would allow you to pay for not only the costs of the funeral or burial but for the amount of money that they provided and were expected to provide for your family moving forward.
  3. Punitive damages: Consider a situation in which a company knowingly sells a defective product, with the knowledge that doing so would likely cause harm to consumers. If you or a loved one are harmed by someone who with wilful negligence causes you harm, punitive damages might be awarded to discourage similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages can also apply when individuals show patterns or reckless behavior and could be awarded in, for example, repeated drunk driving or street racing incidents.

Compensatory damages can be thought of as the most common type of damage in a personal injury case, with wrongful death and punitive damages only appearing under the specific circumstances highlighted above.

Challenges to getting what you deserve in a personal injury case

It is not easy to win a personal injury case. No matter how obvious it may be that another person’s negligence caused you harm, getting a payout is often a long, drawn-out process. There are a few reasons why personal injury cases are so hard to win:

  1. Insurance companies. This may seem like a broad reason, but insurance companies often have large teams of talented lawyers, who will use a broad array of tactics to try to get you to settle for less than you actually deserve. Whether you’re suing an individual or suing the insurance company, their large teams of lawyers will likely try to keep you from getting a just settlement.
  2. Establishing liability. Proving causation, or linking the responsible party’s actions directly to the injuries, can be challenging. This requires gathering evidence and testimony to demonstrate that the responsible party’s negligence directly caused your harm. The problem is that memories fade, evidence expires, and it can be extremely difficult to put together a bulletproof case.
  3. Determining the value of general or non-economic damages. Victims in personal injury cases often end up getting less than they really deserve for a number of reasons, but a big one is that it can be hard to put a number on suffering, anguish, and quality of life changes.

Your attorney will be able to help you navigate the tactics of the insurance company, establish liability of the responsible party, and put a number to your suffering that helps ensure that you can continue to lead a life worth living. Justice can be a difficult thing to come about on your own. If you want to win, you’re going to want to hire the best personal injury lawyers in Houston to take your personal injury case.

Continue reading: Can I sue my insurance company for emotional distress?

How to collect damages in a personal injury claim

If you or a loved one are injured due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important to call a personal injury lawyer that you trust as soon as possible. When it comes to dealing with an insurance adjuster, our attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta have the proper knowledge and experience as former insurance lawyers to help you stay clear of the tricks that insurance adjusters use to whittle down settlement offers.

The legal process can be tricky to navigate, especially if you’re dealing with the aftermath of such a traumatic event. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. We will help you negotiate a settlement, understand the types of damages in a lawsuit available to you and, if necessary, take your case to trial.

Pursue the right types of damages for your case with the help of Grimes & Fertitta

At Grimes & Fertitta, we believe that you shouldn’t have to suffer from financial distress due to someone else’s negligence. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be many types of damages in a lawsuit that are available to help see you through this difficult time.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta are here to support you throughout the legal process. Will work hard to help you obtain the financial compensation you and your family need to rebuild your life.

Call the attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta today at (713) 224-7644 or contact us online and ask us to help you seek damages in a lawsuit.

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