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What Awards Can a Personal Injury Claim Result In?

Published on November 2nd, 2020

Personal Injury Lawyer

When an injury is caused by another person’s negligent behavior, a lawsuit may be filed against them. The purpose of this action is to get financial compensation, also known as damages, for the plaintiff’s injuries. Discover the type of damage awards available through the course of a personal injury lawsuit.

Compensatory – Special

A personal injury results in a loss to the plaintiff. When the lawsuit against the responsible party is filed, the plaintiff must ask for compensation for those injuries. The first type of financial award includes those damages that can be calculated and proven. These are known as special compensatory damages. They are actual losses, things like medical bills, copays, lost income, and future earnings. The easy way to remember special compensatory damages is that they are tangible and have a definitive value affixed.

Compensatory – General

General compensatory damages stand in stark contrast to special compensatory damages. They are intangible and have no specific price or cost attached. An injured plaintiff would ask for general damages to compensate for things like the pain associated with the injury, mental anguish, and a loss of affection from a spouse. These awards do not have an actual value. There is no formula for a court to decide who to award general damages. It is, therefore, up to the plaintiff to present professionals, such as doctors and nurses, to testify to the type of anguish associated with the same injury. The more severe the injury, the more likely a court is to award general compensatory damages.

Punitive

Sometimes an act by the defendant is so reckless that a court decides to punish them by imposing a financial hardship called punitive damages. This type of monetary award is solely at the discretion of the court. These damages are handed down only after other types of damages are awarded. The reason for punitive damages is to send a message to the defendant and others that the negligence that led to the plaintiff’s injury will not be tolerated or taken lightly. Punitive damages are the only way a personal injury judge can punish a defendant. The award is usually an extremely high amount of money, often starting in the hundreds of thousands and beyond.

Wrongful Death

Unfortunately, some personal injury cases that become wrongful death suits because the plaintiff dies during the proceedings. When this happens, the heirs may continue on with the case and collect wrongful death damages. This financial award takes the place of compensatory damages.

When injuries are severe, a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Martin Wren, P.C., may recommend filing a lawsuit to collect damages from the at-fault party. This may be the most favorable way to move on with recovery. 

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