It’s possible to suffer an injury in just about any situation you can imagine, but the majority of personal injuries are linked to:
- Automobile accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall incidents
What am I Entitled to If I Suffer a Personal Injury?
If you’re injured and it’s someone else’s fault, you might be able to receive money for damages. Damages are what you receive as the result of the incident’s effect on you and your life. They can be either compensatory or punitive.
Compensatory damages are designed to compensate you for what you lost because of the incident. The law provides for compensatory damages in an attempt to make you “whole” after an incident, though it’s rarely possible for damages to undo what was done.
For instance, if you are involved in a car crash and lose your leg, compensatory damages are intended to provide you with a financial award equivalent to the value of your leg. You can see why it’s difficult to actually accomplish making a plaintiff “whole” again.
Compensatory damages are based on the number of your medical bills, as well as your pain and suffering, and the changes that have occurred in your life because of the incident. Obviously, some of these are easier to quantify than others.
Examples of compensatory damages include:
Cost of Medical Treatment
Reimbursement for the money spent on medical care that was necessary because of the incident, as well as compensation for the estimated cost of future medical care.
Loss of Income
Reimbursement for the money you did not receive from your job because of the incident. This includes money you did not earn during your recovery, as well as an estimate of money you might have been able to make, were it not for the incident.
MThe moneyyou receive for any property that was damaged in the incident. This would include a vehicle if you were a victim in a car crash, but might also include clothing, equipment, and other materials that were damaged or needed repair.
Pain and Suffering
Some victims are entitled to compensation for the physical pain and discomfort they experienced as a result of their injuries.
This is compensation provided for victims for whom there is a psychological impact following an incident. For instance, a person involved in a serious car crash might experience anxiety or fear of driving or riding in a car.
Loss of Enjoyment
In some cases, injuries you suffer might prevent you from engaging in hobbies you once enjoyed. The law makes an attempt to financially compensate you for this loss.
Loss of Consortium
This is compensation for anything lost that affects your relationships. For instance, someone paralyzed in a car crash can receive loss of consortium damages because he or she is no longer able to maintain an intimate relationship with his or her spouse.
Punitive damages are not intended to compensate or “make whole” the victim of the incident in any way. Instead, these damages are intended to punish the perpetrator and discourage that person and others from engaging in a particular behavior in the future.
For instance, someone who causes a car accident because they are drinking alcohol and then driving might be forced to pay punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. The goal is to punish the drunk driver for his or her actions, discourage that person from drinking and driving in the future, and discourage other people from drinking and driving.