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Auto Accident Lawyers Weigh in: How Are Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Cases?

Posted on December 23, 2017

How Are Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Cases

Have you ever considered filing a personal injury case, perhaps related to a slip-and-fall accident or an automobile accident? If so, you’ve probably wondered to yourself how much the case could really be worth. Certainly, this is a question our car accident lawyers field all the time.

To answer this question, a car accident lawyer would think in terms of damages—basically figuring out how much your injuries have cost you, monetarily but also physically and mentally.

In any personal injury case, there is a chance that damages will be paid to the injured person (the plaintiff) by the person or the company who caused the injuries, either through intention or neglect. (Or, as is often the case in car accident cases, it’s the insurer of the at-fault party who really pays.)

Damages are awarded either on the basis of an agreed-upon sum, following negotiation settlements, or as dictated by a judge and/or jury following a trial.

As you consider how much your case is worth, it’s important to understand some of the different kinds of damages that might be paid. Here is a brief overview, put together by our auto accident lawyers.

Car Accident Lawyers Explain Compensatory Damages

The first category of damages to consider: Compensatory damages. According to our auto accident lawyer, this is the category of damages meant to compensate the plaintiff for what was lost due to the injury. Essentially, these damages are meant to rectify the situation, and to make the plaintiff “whole” again. Some specific types of compensatory damages include:

  • Medical. Compensatory damages will almost always encompass the cost of any medical care associated with the accident, as a bare minimum.
  • Income. Compensatory damages might also include any lost wages as a result of the accident, or future lost earnings—e.g., if the injury will keep you out of the workforce for a long time to come.
  • Property loss. Vehicles or other items, either lost or damaged, might entitle you to compensation.
  • Pain and suffering. The plaintiff will often be due compensation for any serious discomfort or physical pain caused by the accident; this amount, of course, is a little harder to quantify. Ask a car accident lawyer what the specific amount might be.
  • Mental distress. With more serious accidents, the plaintiff might claim compensation for things like anxiety, fear, sleep disruptions, etc.

Car Accident Lawyers Explain Punitive Damages

In addition to compensatory damages, your auto accident lawyer might also advise you to seek punitive damages. These are the damages you seek to “punish” the at-fault party when his or her behavior is deemed to be particularly reckless or egregious. These damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages.

Punitive damages are not meant to make the plaintiff whole again, but they are made to serve as a kind of deterrent for bad behavior. In some cases, punitive damages are quite high, but many states have imposed a cap on the punitive damages that may be sought.

How the Plaintiff’s Actions Impact Damages, According to Our Auto Accident Lawyers

Another important thing to note is that in some case the injured person’s role in the accident can diminish the damages he or she is awarded. Here are a few examples from our car accident lawyer:

  • Comparative negligence. If you are deemed to be partially to blame for the accident—even a little bit—that might limit the damages you’re able to seek.
  • Contributory negligence. In a few states, you’re actually not able to pursue any damages at all if you’re deemed partially at-fault for the accident.
  • Failure to mitigate damages. If, for example, you sustain injuries in the accident but do not show up for your physical therapy appointments, and then the injuries get worse, the damages you’re awarded may be diminished considerably.

Find Out How Much Your Case is Worth. Speak with an Auto Accident Lawyer Today.

Speak with an Auto Accident Lawyer Today.As you can tell, there are many factors to weigh as you try to determine what your case is worth. The best way to proceed is with the guidance of a personal injury attorney or a car accident lawyer.

I Accident Lawyer is always available to evaluate your case and give you an estimate for the damages you can seek. Our legal team is available by phone around the clock. To learn more about damages in your personal injury case, contact I Accident Lawyer at your next convenience.

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