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If you were injured due to another’s negligence and are considering a personal injury case to recover damages, it’s important to understand the different types of compensation available.
Damages in personal injury claims vary widely, and your lawyer will help set compensation expectations with you based on the unique circumstances of your case. In this post, the Cincinnati injury attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei discuss the broad range of damages that may be recovered in personal injury lawsuits.
Compensatory Damages vs. Punitive Damages
Damages in personal injury cases generally fall under two categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
The goal of compensatory damages is to provide the plaintiff with sufficient compensation to restore himself or herself to the state he or she was in prior to the event that caused the injuries. Compensatory damages may include both economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are those that can be calculated precisely, such as medical expenses and lost earnings. Noneconomic damages are those whose costs are more subjective, such as pain and suffering.
Punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages if the defendant’s negligent act that caused the injuries was especially egregious. Punitive damages are meant to deter the defendant and other parties from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
A Closer Look at Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages are intended to reimburse the injured party for losses suffered as a result of their injuries and to restore the plaintiff as close as possible to his or her state of health prior to the injuries.
Compensatory damages may include but are not limited to:
- Current and future medical expenses: This may entail compensation for surgery, X-rays, prescription medication, physical therapy and other associated costs.
- Lost income: If the injury prevents the plaintiff from working, loss of earnings may be claimed as damages. This extends to any time lost due to an inability to work, as well as for time spent undergoing medical treatments.
- Pain and suffering: Those who suffer severe injuries caused by another’s negligence often experience mental anguish and emotional distress in addition to physical pain.
- Loss of companionship/consortium: Spouses and family members of the injured party may be eligible to recover loss of companionship or loss of consortium damages if the injury victim is unable to provide the same level of companionship and care as he or she could prior to sustaining the injury.
- Wrongful death: If the injury contributes to death, surviving family members and other loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death case to recover compensation for medical costs, funeral and burial expenses, emotional distress, loss of income and benefits, and loss of companionship or consortium.
It should be noted that this is just an overview of some of the most commonly awarded damages in personal injury claims. Your personal injury attorney will talk with you about specific damages and potential compensation amounts during your consultation.
A Closer Look at Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are designed to punish the party responsible for gross negligence or intentional carelessness.
Although they are awarded to the plaintiff, punitive damages are not like compensatory damages in their intent to help make the plaintiff whole. Punitive damages are rare, and not all states allow courts to levy punitive damages.
Punitive damages are more common in cases that involve situations like battery, sexual assault or fraud. However, they may also be awarded in certain personal injury cases, such as that of a repeat drunk driving offender who causes an accident that leads to severe injuries or death.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to another’s negligence, it’s a good idea to discuss your case with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney prior to accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer.
Initial settlement offers from insurance providers are rarely enough to cover injury victims’ long-term needs. A skilled lawyer can negotiate a just settlement or fight for fair compensation on your behalf in court.
The Cincinnati personal injury attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei are dedicated to helping injury victims from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky pursue the financial security they need to restore their lives and move forward. Please call us today at 800-721-1678 for a free consultation or contact us online to tell us your story now.