Six Types of Personal Injury Damages
If you have been hurt by a car crash, medical malpractice, or any other accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to file a claim for damages. The damages you recover through a personal injury claim is financial compensation that is meant to restore your health to the same condition it was in before the accident. There are several different types personal injury damages you can claim. Here’s what you need to know about the most common types of damages.
The medical bills you will face after suffering from an injury are expensive. Medical expenses often make up the bulk of personal injury claims, and they provide a starting point when trying to determine how much your claim is worth. You can recover damages for your medical expenses from the very first visit to the doctor or emergency room to the last time you receive treatment. It is important to include all past, current, and future medical expenses in your claim. Certain medical expenses can increase the value of a personal injury claim and they are as follows:
- Co-pays or fees for hospital stays or doctor’s visits
- Medication necessary to treat physical and mental accident symptoms
- Occupational therapy and general physical therapy
- Medical aids, such as crutches, a wheelchair, or prosthetics
It is very daunting to watch medical bills pile up after an injury. Still, the most important priority after an accident is your own health and well-being. You should never hold off on getting medical treatment simply because you think you cannot afford it.
After being in an accident that resulted in a serious injury, you will likely have to miss some time from work to recover. Lost income is another type of compensation that can greatly increase a personal injury claim. When people think of damages for lost income, they typically think of the pay they would have received if they had been able to return to work. While you can certainly include this lost income in your claim, there are other types of lost income you can claim, as well.
If you cannot return to the same line of work in the future, you can also claim damages for loss of earning capacity. For example, if a construction worker suffered an amputation in a car accident, they probably can never perform construction work again. This is a major loss, and if you cannot perform the same type of work, you deserve compensation for it.
Pain & Suffering
Certain types of injuries result in significant pain. Burns, amputations, and broken bones are just a few of these. Until you fully recover from your injury, you may endure a great amount of suffering. This is another loss that you have the right to recover.
Calculating damages for pain and suffering is one obstacle that personal injury claims present for many people, because it does not have a concrete value as medical expenses and lost income do. Prescription medications for pain can help place a value on pain and suffering damages. A personal injury lawyer will also know the other ways to calculate pain and suffering damages, including multiplying the economic damages by a certain number or assigning the pain a certain dollar value per day.
Damages for emotional distress are similar to those available for pain and suffering. These damages compensate you for any negative psychosocial effects the injury or accident has on your daily life. Traumatic accidents can cause serious emotional distress that may take the form of anxiety, depression, or a withdrawal from the activities you once loved. For example, a car accident victim may develop a fear of vehicles and not want to ride in or drive one again.
To prove damages for emotional distress, you should document what you are feeling and how your life is being impacted. Using the same car accident example as above, you could document the fact that you have to drive for work but your fear of being in a vehicle has prevented you from being able to do that. You should also speak to your doctor about your symptoms, as emotional distress injuries are often not visible. Insurance companies typically want documentation from a medical professional when paying damages for your injuries.
Loss of Consortium
Damages for loss of consortium compensate your family members if you are not able to provide the same level of love, companionship, sexual relations, or emotional support. These damages are typically only available in serious accident cases, such as those that resulted in a wrongful death, paralysis, or amputation. Often, these claims are made separately by those that suffer from the loss, such as the children or spouse of the accident victim.
Punitive damages are not always awarded in personal injury lawsuits and they are not even claimed by the victim. Instead, they are awarded by a judge or jury when the defendant’s behavior was grossly negligent, malicious, or was fraudulent. Juries may be more likely to award punitive damages in these cases when the defendant is a large corporation or manufacturer that has many resources, such as a pharmaceutical company that sold defective drugs.
Factors that Affect the Worth of a Claim
While the above six types of personal injury damages are some of the most common, the worth of your claim will depend on a number of factors. These include:
- The severity of your injury
- The anticipated length of your recovery
- The conduct of the defendant when causing an accident that resulted in injury
- Insurance coverage available
Unlike many other states, New York does not place a cap, or limit, on the amount of damages a person can recover, so you can recover compensation for all of your losses.
Get Legal Help Today
If you have been hurt by another person’s negligence, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. can help you claim the full damages you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.