Types of Damages that Can Be Recovered in a Personal Injury Suit

damages that can be recovered in personal injury law

Understanding Personal Injury Damages: Exploring Types and Calculations

When navigating the aftermath of a personal injury suit, comprehending the intricacies of the awarded compensation, known as “damages,” can be challenging. Each type of damage serves a distinct purpose, aiming to provide reparation for the various impacts of the injury. Terry Abeyta, a seasoned attorney at Abeyta Nelson, sheds light on the types of damages and the complex process of calculating them.

1. Medical Damages

These damages cover the expenses related to medical treatment, including hospital bills, surgery costs, medication expenses, rehabilitation fees, and any other healthcare services needed due to the injury. For example, if someone sustains a severe injury in a car accident, their medical damages may include the cost of emergency medical care, surgeries, physical therapy, and ongoing medical treatment for long-term recovery.

Terry Abeyta explains, “Medical damages encompass past, present, and future medical needs required for the plaintiff’s recovery. It aims to restore the plaintiff’s ability to lead as normal a life as possible after the injury.”

2. Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages compensate the injured individual for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by the injury. These damages are subjective and can vary depending on the severity of the injury and its impact on the person’s life. For instance, a person who experiences chronic pain, disability, or emotional trauma as a result of a slip and fall accident may receive compensation for their pain and suffering.

“Damages for pain and suffering,” Terry elaborates, “are determined based on the level of physical pain endured by the plaintiff, along with any loss of quality of life resulting from the injury.”

3. Lost Wages and Income

Lost wages and income damages aim to reimburse the injured party for the income they lost due to their inability to work because of the injury. This includes both past and future earnings that the individual would have earned if not for the accident. For example, if someone suffers a serious injury in a workplace accident and is unable to return to work for several months, they may receive compensation for the wages they would have earned during that time period.

In cases where injury leads to missed work, compensation for lost wages and income can be pursued. Terry notes, “If the injury prevents future work, damages may also cover the loss of earning capacity.”

4. Emotional Damages

Emotional damages, also known as mental anguish damages, compensate the injured person for psychological harm such as anxiety, depression, fear, or trauma resulting from the accident or injury. These damages acknowledge the emotional toll that the injury has taken on the individual’s mental well-being. For instance, a victim of a violent assault may experience severe emotional distress and may be entitled to compensation for the psychological impact of the attack.

Terry highlights, “Emotional damages may be awarded for severe emotional distress. However, the legal framework around these damages is intricate, and recovery may not always be feasible.”

5. Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium damages are awarded to compensate the spouse or family members of the injured person for the loss of companionship, support, love, affection, and intimacy resulting from the injury. This can include the negative impact on the relationship between spouses or the inability of a parent to provide care and support to their children due to the injury. For example, if a person suffers a permanent disability in a car accident, their spouse may receive compensation for the loss of their partner’s companionship and support.

“Loss of consortium,” Terry explains, “addresses the deprivation of companionship-related activities with loved ones due to the victim’s disability.”

6. Property Damages

Property damages cover the costs of repairing or replacing any property that was damaged or destroyed as a result of the accident or injury. This can include damage to vehicles, personal belongings, or real property such as homes or businesses. For instance, if a driver rear-ends another vehicle in a car accident, the at-fault driver may be responsible for paying for the repair or replacement of the damaged vehicle.

These damages come into play when an accident causes damage to property, necessitating repairs or replacement.

7. Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are awarded to punish the defendant for their intentional misconduct or gross negligence and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior in the future. Unlike other types of damages, punitive damages are not intended to compensate the injured party but rather to punish the wrongdoer and prevent future wrongdoing. An example of a case where punitive damages may be awarded is a product liability lawsuit against a company that knowingly manufactured and sold defective products that caused harm to consumers.

Not applicable in Washington State, punitive damages are awarded in some jurisdictions for egregious misconduct. Terry emphasizes, “Punitive damages primarily serve as a deterrent against severe misconduct.”

Hiring a Yakima Personal Injury Attorney

Navigating the calculation of damages requires legal expertise and collaboration with experts. Abeyta Nelson offers extensive experience in this realm and is available to provide guidance.

Send us a message or give us a phone call at 509-588-0240 if you believe you have a personal injury claim for a fair rate.

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