You may be eligible for different types of compensation or a sum of money if you win a personal injury lawsuit. In legal terms, the sum is known as "damages." However, each personal injury case is different from the other, and the court awards them according to specific facts and circumstances of the accident.
The sum of money that goes to a successful plaintiff falls under two categories known as compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages make a plaintiff whole after he or she sustains an injury. On the other hand, punitive damages financially punish the defendant if he or she is liable for the damages.
What Are Compensatory Damages?
Compensatory damages award the plaintiff for the actual amount of injury or losses resulting from the accident. These monetary awards reimburse the out-of-pocket expenses and losses of a plaintiff due to the injury. There are two different types of compensatory damages, including special and general damages.
Special damages intend to provide a monetary amount to replace what was lost. They may also cover any future expenses due to an injury. The most common types of personal injury damages under this category may include:
- Medical bills and hospital bills
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
- Transportation to medical services
- Ambulance expenses
- Medicine, prescription drugs, and medical equipment
- Lost wages or lost employment income
- Property damage replacement or repair
- Increased living expenses
- Nursing home care
- Domestic services
The total amount you get depends on several different factors. With each case being different, the outcome and reward amounts differ according to judges, lawyers, arguments, circumstances, and so on. However, the plaintiff's lawyer must prove that the losses equate to a specific monetary value before receiving favorable judgment.
Common types of damages, unlike special damages, are subjective and can be harder to calculate. It could refer to emotional distress, PTSD, pain and suffering, and a decrease in life expectancy. Injuries such as defamation fall under this category and can also be eligible for general damages.
General damages may include:
- Mental anguish
- Future medical expenses
- Future lost wages
- Long-term physical pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
- Loss of opportunity
In medical malpractice cases, compensatory damages are the most common award given to plaintiffs. A plaintiff may also receive compensation for medical and hospital bills, lost earnings, and rehabilitation expenses.
Speak to a member of our team to learn more about compensatory damage cases.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Technically, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiff and do not directly relate to a tangible injury. Punitive damages punish the negligent party and prevent him or her from behaving in the same manner.
When are punitive damages possible? It requires the defendant to show intentional misconduct, act with recklessness, malice, or deceit in most states. However, “gross negligence” is a common factor to justify punitive damages.
When Is An Action Considered Gross Negligence?
Ordinary negligence means a person fails to take reasonable precautions to avoid causing harm to other people. With gross negligence, there is an added recklessness. It is a willful behavior with extreme disregard for the health and safety of other people.
A business owner may be held liable for failing to fix an old roof that collapses and hurts customers. This is known as “ordinary negligence.” Let's add another element to this case.
A building inspector ordered the business owner to fix the roof. The inspector also ordered to close that part of the building to the public in the meantime.
However, the business owner ignored the mandate, and after three months, the roof collapsed and injured some customers. In this case, the business owner may be liable for “gross negligence.”
Another example is Bob, who fails to check the ski poles before giving them to his student. Unfortunately, the pole cracks, which results in a painful shoulder injury. However, instead of stopping the class, Bob forces the injured student to finish the class before seeking medical care.
The waiting period aggravates the injury and leads to a posterior labral tear. In this case, Bob could also be held liable for gross negligence.
Speak to A Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury lawsuits can be incredibly complicated. Without the resources and legal knowledge, you might not be able to secure maximum compensation for the losses and damages.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer in Florida can ensure you receive guidance and learn about your options while protecting your interests.
Keep in mind, there is a statute of limitations to file for personal injury cases. The earlier you take action in laying the ground for your case, the better. Sometimes, it is too late to file your lawsuit.
Waiting means that evidence relating to your case may be difficult to procure. With this, it is necessary to take immediate action and hire a personal injury attorney who can act on your behalf. A reputable law firm can work with medical professionals.
Legal and financial professionals can calculate total expenses and determine the compensatory damages coming to you according to case specifics. They can also negotiate with all the parties involved to reach a fair settlement on your behalf. Call Weinstein Legal today at 888-626-1108 for more information.