Damage Awards in Personal Injury Lawsuits
A person who hurts another should have to pay for the damage inflicted. Whether the injury was caused directly or indirectly, compensation is required to pay for lost pay and medical bills. There are other financial avenues a judge or jury may consider when trying to decide the amount of damages to award in a personal injury case. Explore the various awards and discover how the court may determine how much the responsible party must pay the one injured.
Personal Injury Case Types
A lawsuit under the personal injury category aims to recover for the negligence of the guilty party financially. Not all cases will fall under this umbrella, but the most common examples include:
- Medical mistakes (malpractice)
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Trip, slip, and fall accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Product liability actions
The most significant element in a personal injury case is the ability to prove negligence. In doing this, the person at fault must have known that their behavior or inattention had the potential to lead to another person’s injury. When a vehicle is speeding, for example, there is a risk of an accident. Thus, the damage to another borne out of such an accident falls under personal injury.
Special Compensatory Damages
Regardless of how an accident happened, once negligence is proven, the court will consider how to compensate the injured party. The most common type of financial award is known as special compensatory damages. These are expenses sustained by the injured party that occurred because of the negligent action. The victim provides proof of losses in the form of receipts, pay stubs, and other requisite evidence. The judge will then tally these up and award repayment.
General Compensatory Damages
Beyond special compensatory damages, the court may consider more intangible proof of injury to the victim. General compensatory damages deal with things such as suffering, pain, and loss of consortium claims. Since the pain one individual feels is subjective in nature, the victim may provide testimony and proof of similar injuries to help the court determine these types of damages are warranted.
Financial punishment is the aim of a punitive damages award. This type of award is entirely in the hands of the court. Punitive damages are usually only awarded when the negligence was egregious, and the resulting injury was life-altering for the victim.
The personal injury process may yield a financial award that helps the victim move forward. Even though money may not ever fully make up for what was lost, it can help provide security for the injured party and their family for the years ahead. If you or someone you know was injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Wiseman Bray PLLC, today.