What Are the Types of Compensation in a Personal Injury Case?

Suppose you’re injured owing to another person’s negligence or willful wrongful actions (in other words, you suffer personal injury). In that case, you are entitled to compensation in the form of damages.

Personal injury law, also known as “tort” law, is designed and meant to help individuals harmed make claims in cases involving car accidents, slip and fall cases, medical malpractice, dog bits, product liability, or even intentional torts such as assaults or battery.

Whether you settle the claims out of court or they’re determined in court by a jury, several types of compensation will determine the final sum you receive.

They include:

Compensatory Damages

A plaintiff lodging a personal injury claim or lawsuit primarily aims to recover compensatory damages for the financial losses associated with injury. In other words, you bring forth a personal injury claim to be “made whole” after incurring financial losses due to the defendant’s actions and/or omissions that caused your injury.

Special Compensatory Damages (Economic Damages)

The special compensatory damages are meant to reimburse plaintiffs for the monetary losses incurred due to the injuries. Typically, these damages will cover the following aspects:

Medical Expenses Claim

In almost all cases, personal injury results in medical treatment, which costs money. Additionally, the medical treatment costs can add up quickly, which can burn a huge hole in your pockets if you’re not compensated. As such, you need to track and document all of your medical expenses, including:

  • Emergency room visits,
  • Hospital stays,
  • X-rays,
  • Surgeries,
  • Lab tests,
  • Physical therapy,
  • Rehabilitation,
  • Prescription medical,
  • Pain management,
  • At-home care costs,
  • Massage and chiropractic therapies,
  • Medical transportation, and
  • Increased living expenses resulting from the injuries.

It is also important to note that when your medical insurer pays your medical bills, they are entitled to recover what they spend on your medical bills after you settle the claim. It is common practice for insurance companies to place medical liens on your future settlements.

Future Medical Costs Claim

Aside from being compensated for past medical bills, you’re also entitled to receive compensation for any future medical bills resulting from the injuries.

Loss of Income/Wages Claim

You’re entitled to compensation for lost income and/or wages in the past due to personal injury. Additionally, you are entitled to compensation for lost income in the future due to the injuries.

Future Lost Earnings or Loss of Earning Capacity Claim

Aside from being entitled to compensation for lost wages, you are also entitled to compensation for losing future earnings. If the injury disables you, you can seek damages for lost future earning capacity and potential.

Loss or Damage of Property

In case the accidents involve a loss of your personal property, you are entitled to compensation to repair or replace the damaged property. You are also entitled to damages for losing an irreplaceable property such as a family heirloom.

You can also claim damages for other out-of-pocket financial losses occasioned by the injury. For instance, economic losses due to a canceled trip.

General Compensatory Damages (Non-Economic Damages)

General compensatory damages are awarded for the unquantifiable costs incurred due to the injury. These are the non-economic damages and consequences of the injury that the claimant experiences that are not directly related to their finances. Common compensatory damages awarded in cases of personal injury include:

Pain and Suffering Claim

Aside from being compensated for the medical expenses, you are also entitled to the pain and suffering that the injury causes. However, since pain and suffering are difficult to quantify, the court relies on factors such as the type of injury in question, length of recovery, the medication and therapy involved in recovery, and the permanence of the injuries to determine compensation under this category.

Impact On Quality of Life Claim

Injuries resulting in amputations or traumatic brain injuries negatively impact the claimant’s quality of life. Consequently, you may be entitled to compensation for the impact on your quality of life.

Impact On Enjoyment of Life Claim

In cases where the claimant experiences difficulty in enjoying their life as they did before, where they cannot participate in their hobbies or activities they love, such as playing sports, they can claim loss of enjoyment of life.

Loss of Consortium/Loss of Companionship Claim

This particular claim is meant to compensate a claimant and/or their family who cannot enjoy the same level of companionship and company as they did before the accident occurred.

Other general compensatory damages a claimant may potentially make include disfigurement and emotional distress claims.

Punitive Damages

Aside from being “made whole” by seeking compensatory damages, as a plaintiff, you may seek punitive damages in some instances. Punitive damages are designed to punish and deter the defendant from committing the same maliciousness, gross and/or reckless negligence, and/or committed crime such as assault or fraud.

Given that the punitive damages are predicated upon the defendant’s intentionally malicious actions and that these damages are not designed to make you whole, they are not mandatory. However, the court typically awards damages in cases involving gross negligence, widespread financial harm, aggravated battery, or sexual assault.

Additionally, the amount of punitive damages is dependent on the severity of the damages while also being capped by state laws.

Limitations On Personal Injury Compensation

While your goal as a plaintiff in a personal injury settlement is to get as much financial compensation as possible, you should note that there are limitations to your compensation in some cases. One main limiting factor is the enactment of Tort reform in many states.

Tort Reforms are state legislations that some states, including Georgia, have enacted that affect the plaintiff’s ability to get compensated fully. The reforms place a cap on damages due to personal injury. For instance, the punitive damages are capped at $250,000 in Georgia.

The other limiting factor is the insurance policy limits. Whether you’re dealing with a car, malpractice, business liability, or home insurance, most insurance policies have a maximum they may pay out as compensation. While you can seek more than the policy limits, you will be left to collect any money above the insurance policy from the defendant.

Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today

As you can tell from all, making a personal injury claim involves understanding the full range of damages you are entitled to before lodging your claim. SHElaw firm® is here to help you understand your situation from a legal point of view.

We are experienced experts in seeking personal injury claims, helping you and your family get the financial resources you are rightfully owed for the injury you suffer.

And with the statute of limitation for personal injury claims being only two years, do not hesitate or wait to call. Contact us today at 470-378-1162 and start your journey of seeking compensation with SHElaw firm®!

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