Once a plaintiff wins a personal injury lawsuit, he or she may be entitled to recover some damages from the defendant.
This could include compensation for lost income, pain and suffering and hedonic damages.
There is no exact amount as personal injury damages are determined by a jury in a case-to-case basis.
However, the most common types of damages awarded are the following:
Compensatory damages are meant to make up for the losses the victim sustained as a result of the personal injury.
There are two types of compensatory damages; the economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses refer to damages that automatically have a dollar figure.
Medical expenses This may include past and future medical expenses. Future medical costs represents the amount needed for the patients medical care for the rest if his life or until he recovers from the injury.
Lost Income This will include all wages or salary that the victim lost as a result of the personal injury.
Property Damage This covers the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property like a vehicle from a car accident.
Cost of living with disability If the victim sustained injuries that prevents him from engaging in any substantial gainful activity, then the costs of altering the victims lifestyle to suit his disability will be shouldered by the defendant.
Non-economic losses on the other hand are damages that do not have a dollar value but will be assigned one by the courts.
Pain and suffering This include compensations for actual physical and emotional pain that was brought by the personal injury. Emotional distress can come in the form of anger, fear, frustration and other negative emotions that resulted from the injury.
Loss of Consortium Wives and husbands can also receive compensation for the loss of intangible things they get from marriage such as loss of solace, affection, comfort, companionship and sexual relations.
Hedonic damages This refers to the amount equivalent to the loss of enjoyment of life. Examples include, participating in sports and hobbies, sensory experiences, and unencumbered movement. While some states consider this as part of pain and suffering, some California courts recognize it as a separate form of damages.
This is usually awarded when the conduct and behavior of the defendant has been intentional or just simply outrageous.
While the damages are awarded to the victim, the real aim is to punish the defendant and deter other people from committing the same or similar acts.
In cases where there is very little injury or damage, the court may decide to award the victim some amount of money to acknowledge that he or she has been legally wronged by the defendant.