Understanding the Types of Damages in Personal Injury Claims

Following a motor vehicle accident you might have a number of concerns and worries about how you will cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.  Personal injury lawyers, such as our colleagues at John K. Zaid & Associates, MVA attorney in Houston, TX, are available to talk with anyone who has sustained moderate to serious or life threatening injuries in a motor vehicle accident. For a consultation please call our firm now. 

Understand the Types of Damages

It is natural to want to be compensated if you have been injured by the actions of someone else. The most common way to receive compensation is through a personal injury claim. However, this raises the question of what damages you are entitled to recover.  Essentially, the goal of a personal injury suit is to return you to the financial situation you were in prior to the injury. This guide will go into the general details of the damages that are often involved in personal injury claims. It will be in your best interest to consult an experienced lawyer for personalized information and advice. 

There are three types of damages you should know about, these include:

Special Compensatory Damages

The first and most common type of damage is called special compensatory damages. Most personal injury case will include these types of damages in one form or another.  They include everything that has a specific and set monetary value.  For example, if you had an expense for $1,000, then this “special” expense falls into this category of damages and will be sough to be “compensated” at exactly $1,000 and no more or less. Special compensatory damages often include:

  • Hospital bills
  • The purchase of medicine
  • Lost wages from missed work
  • Miscellaneous purchases
  • Property Damages

Remember that only expenses that were the direct result of the injury can typically be claimed in a personal injury claim.  Whether your situation has you seeking the advice of a NJ MVA attorney, a TX MVA attorney, or elsewhere, they will likely want to see all of your related medical bills, invoices, and pay stubs to verify your losses and ensure they are included in the case. 

General Compensatory Damages

The most common type of damages in personal injury suits are “general” compensatory damages. This category covers pain and suffering, disability and reductions in quality of life, and any other type of “compensatory” issue for which there is no set objective monetary value. Essentially, if the value of the item or type of loss is considered to be more or less subjective, then it likely falls into this category. The courts may rule that you are due compensation for emotional trauma, physical pain, loss of ability, and other losses. Sometimes even things like the mental anguish from divorce or loss of the enjoyment of life, can be included if they can be shown to have been caused by the wreck and the resulting injuries. Because there is not a set monetary value, your  MVA attorney will be in the best position to advise as to how much can reasonably be sought from the defendant in compensation.

Punitive Damages

The final category is punitive damages. While it is possible for punitive damages to be a part of a personal injury case, it is very rare. Unlike the previous two types of damages, punitive damages are not “compensatory”. Instead, these damages are intended to punish the defendant. For this reason, punitive damages are only assigned when the defendant acted intentionally, maliciously or in some other manner in which the state’s laws authorize punitive damages. 

To learn more about which damages will likely apply in your case, speak with an experienced MVA attorney today. 

Our thanks to the MVA attorneys in Houston, TX from John K. Zaid & Associates for their contributions to this post.