Types of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Lawsuits - Legal Info

Published: 02nd April 2009
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When you or a loved one has been injured and you are considering filing a claim for personal injuries you may wonder what type of damages you could be awarded. Damages in a personal injury lawsuit include economic losses. This would comprise of lost earnings, medical expenses, property damage, and future losses. In some cases, you may have additional damages for loss of consortium, punitive damages, and emotional damages. Here is an explanation of the two types of damages you may be awarded if you are successful in your personal injury lawsuit.

Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages are actual or estimated damages. Compensatory damages are meant to reimburse the injured party for expenses and losses caused by the injury. These damages are calculated based on the actual medical bills, lost wages and money paid by the injured party to repair property. Additionally, when someone is injured they may have future needs that need to be considered when filing a claim for damages. Pain and suffering or your spouse's claim for loss of consortium would be categorized as estimated damages.

Punitive Damages
Punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are often awarded when the defendant's actions that caused the accident were of willful, wanton disregard for the safety of other people. Punitive damages are awarded not as compensation but to punish the defendant and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. To be successful in your claim for punitive damages you must be able to prove the defendant knew their actions were of malicious intent and still engaged in the activity such as driving while intoxicated. Awards for punitive damages are often excessive. They are meant to punish the defendant and not to compensate the victim. It is up to a jury to determine punitive damages and therefore oftentimes subjective and unpredictable.

Finding an attorney is critical if you or a loved one has experienced an injury due to a defective part in a motor vehicle. Car and trucking accident attorneys in Manhattan, a New York motorcycle injury accident lawyer, and personal lawyers in New York City have the knowledge to obtain compensation for financial losses, physical injuries, and emotional distress.

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