What Kind of Damages or Compensation Could I Be Awarded?
If one is considering filing a personal injury lawsuit over a slip and fall, automobile accident or any other type of damage, they might be wondering what the lawsuit is worth. In personal injury claims, the compensation issued is determined by the extent of injuries one has incurred. The losses are measured regarding the monetary, mental and physical damages.
Money damages are paid to the injured party (legally known as plaintiff) by the company or individual found to be responsible for the injury (the defendant). The payment can be made either after a negotiated settlement or a court trial. Nyc personal injury attorneys can assist negotiate a fair settlement. Here are the general damages in personal injury cases.
Damages are divided into two broad categories; punitive and compensatory.
What are punitive damages?
Compensation for punitive damages is issued when the defendant is deemed to have behaved carelessly. The plaintiff can be awarded compensatory damages in addition to the punitive damages payment. The goal of these damages is to punish the defendant for his bad conduct. At times these acts can be aggravated to sexual assault, severe battery and fraudulent behavior that lead to costly financial harm. Considering that they can be charged highly, to the tune of tens of millions, most states have capped punitive damages in personal injury claims.
What are Compensatory Damages?
As the name suggests, the damages are meant to pay the plaintiff for losses incurred due to the injuries from an accident. Compensatory damages award is expected to make the injured ‘whole’ again from the monetary viewpoint. Therefore, all costs are given monetary value, including losses such as pain and emotional distress. However, putting a price tag on emotions is difficult since the effect varies from an individual to another.
Compensation damages are broken down to special and general damages.
Special compensatory damages
They cater for the monetary damages resulting from the injuries. They are exclusive for a plaintiff, and they vary widely from one individual to another. Special damages cover all expenses or losses related to the injury, and there is no limit to the kinds of individual damage claims that one can make or the amount one may ask for.
Loss of current earnings and loss of future earnings
Cost associated with altered plans or canceled trips
Cost of future medical bills
General compensatory damages
They are known as general because they include non-monetary costs that are usually incurred by plaintiffs after an accident. Most personal injury claims will have at least one of the general compensatory damage.
Loss of companionship/consortium
Pain and suffering
How the plaintiff’s deeds or misdeeds can affect damages reward
When considering the amount of compensation one is to receive, the role of the plaintiff is also examined. At times, the inaction or action of the injured can cause the payment amount to decrease.
The concept is only allowed in a few states. If you are in one such state and you as the plaintiff are seen to contribute partially to the injury, you might not receive any compensation.
Most state laws adhere to comparative negligence, where they link the degree of damages to the extent of fault in a personal injury claim. Therefore, a plaintiff found to have contributed partially to the damages might get less compensation amount as compared to one who has not contributed in any way.
Failure to mitigate damages
Personal injury law in most states requires that the injured should take reasonable measures to reduce the financial impact of the damages caused by accident. If the plaintiff only sits back and does nothing, the compensation award might be reduced. Examples of such situations include failure to go to the hospital or care for a wound which makes it worse.
The personal injury case has been concluded, and the defendant has been asked by the court to pay the plaintiff a certain amount. Some defendants will pay the full award while other might not be willing to pay or cannot afford the entire amount. A plaintiff’s nyc personal injury attorney can help the client to collect damages from a defiant defendant. The lawyer will do so by garnishing wages, discovering undisclosed assets, placing liens on the defendant’s properties among others. Besides collecting damages, nyc personal injury attorneys can also help with other processes within the case.