What Are Compensatory Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
Compensatory damages in a personal injury case are compensation you receive for losses you suffered due to an injury another party caused. If you settle your case out of court, the at-fault party or their insurance company may offer a settlement. If you take your case to court, a judge or jury will decide how much your case is worth and award your damages accordingly.
Economic Compensatory Damages
Economic compensatory damages typically include a monetary expense or tangible loss associated with your injury. Common economic compensatory damages may include:
You may incur a wide range of hospital or other medical expenses from your accident, such as:
- A visit to the emergency room
- Additional surgical care or medical procedure
- Time spent in intensive care or a hospital bed
- Follow-up visits to your physician or specialist
- Physical therapy or rehabilitative services
- Medical devices such as a wheelchair or crutches
- Pain medication or other prescriptions
To claim these damages, you need to provide relevant documents such as medical reports, bills, or receipts. You may also be able to add future medical expenses if you can establish that you will need further medical care due to the accident. You may need to seek an expert witness, such as a medical specialist who can verify your claim and calculate your future medical expenses.
Lost Wages or Work-Related Benefits
If you sustained severe injuries from your accident, your doctor may have ordered you to stay and home and rest until you are fully recovered. As a result, you lost pay from work. You may have also lost certain work benefits during this time. If you are permanently disabled, you may also add potential future lost wages to your damages.
Other Damages You May Qualify For
There are other damages that you may be able to add to your case value, such as:
- Household services or increased living expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost earning capacity
Noneconomic Compensatory Damages
Noneconomic compensatory damages are more difficult to calculate than economic damages because they are less concrete. If you settle with an insurance company out of court, then there may be an agreed upon value of your claim. If you file a lawsuit and take your case to court, a jury is likely to determine the value of your noneconomic damages.
Noneconomic damages may include:
Pain and Suffering
The court may award you pain and suffering damages if you suffered physical or emotional harm as a result of the at-fault party’s negligence or actions. Your award will be based on the connection between the other party’s actions and your injuries.
Your personal injury might have brought on a tremendous amount of sadness, loss, depression, or emotional anguish. You may have sought counseling for your depression or anxiety. You may also have experienced loss of enjoyment of activities. You are entitled to compensation for all of the above.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium covers physical or emotional loss experienced by a spouse or children of the injured person. Your spouse may also experience loss of companionship.
Disfigurement and Disability
You may also be entitled to noneconomic damages if your injury left you permanently disfigured or disabled.
Establishing Proof of Compensatory Damages
To receive compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages, you will need first to prove that someone else is liable for your personal injury. Second, you will need to establish a correlation between the accident and your damages to determine the value of your case.
There are several types of evidence you can use to establish fault in a personal injury case such as:
- Eyewitness reports
- Police report
- Expert witnesses
- Medical reports
- Video footage or photos
To establish a correlation between the accident and your damages, you need to keep accurate records, including taking notes and gathering documents that are related to all damages. For instance, you will want to keep all medical records, loss of pay, and additional expenses.
In addition, you may also want to keep careful notes of noneconomic damages such as documenting your physical suffering or maintaining records of counseling sessions that you have scheduled with a therapist. You can use all of these documents to determine the value of your case.
Hiring a Lawyer for Your Case
If you decide to move forward with a claim or a lawsuit, your personal injury attorney can manage your entire case and represent you when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Florida compensation lawyer can also help you establish your economic and noneconomic compensatory damages by investigating your accident and gathering evidence or relevant documents.
Last, an attorney can also help you navigate through the complex legal process. If you are trying to claim both economic and noneconomic damages, your lawyer can guide you through litigation and act on your behalf if your case becomes complicated for any reason.
Contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato Today
The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato offers legal services for victims of personal injury accidents. If you have been hurt in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or careless action, a personal injury attorney is here to help you with your case. To find out more about our legal services, call us today at 954-633-8270 for a free case evaluation.