In a personal injury case, if you’ve suffered an injury, property damage, or any other kind of loss, as the plaintiff you may seek compensation from whoever caused or contributed to those losses. The legal term for this kind of compensation is “damages.” These damages seek to reimburse or compensate an injured party for the harm they have suffered, and are available in almost all personal injury cases — including auto accidents, medical malpractice, and slip and fall cases.
General Compensatory Damages
General damages compensate an injured individual for non-monetary damages incurred in an injury claim. They are called general damages because they address harm that is typically or “generally” sustained in an injury. All personal injury victims are expected to have at least some general damages. The most common types of general damages are:
Special Compensatory Damages
Special damages compensate for monetary expenses incurred because of an injury. They are unique to the individual victim and vary significantly from one party to the next. An award of special damages should make a victim whole for expenses incurred or for money lost due to the incident or accident that caused their injuries. Some of the more common types of special damages are:
Punitive damages are only awarded to an injured plaintiff when the wrongful behavior of the defendant was despicable or reprehensible. A common scenario where punitive damages are awarded arises when a defendant is found guilty of wanton or malicious acts or of fraud. These acts might include aggravated battery, sexual assault, or fraudulent behavior that causes widespread financial harm. Occasionally, in high-profile injury cases such as those involving defective products or health risks linked with prescription drugs, juries will award punitive damages against product manufacturers and other defendants who have “deep pockets.”
Wrongful Death Damages
A wrongful death claim provides damages for surviving family and loved ones. The most common wrongful death damages include: