What Types of Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Mar 07, 2017 in Personal Injury News
If you have been injured because of another’s negligence, it may be possible to get justice and compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
These types of cases are not criminal cases, but rather civil lawsuits. No one is found guilty. However, the at-fault party could be found liable for an injury and may be ordered to pay compensation to the victim as a form of justice served.
Compensatory damages are meant to help make the victim whole again and aim to return the victim to their state prior to the accident. Compensation is broken into two types of damages: special damages and general damages.
Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys will help you determine which compensation you are entilted.
Special Personal Injury Damages
Special damages are monetary losses that directly resulted from the injury. They are easily documented and calculated and generally fall into four categories:
Medical expenses include all costs related to medical treatment associated with the injury, including past, present and and future expenses, if applicable. This type of compensation provides a reimbursement for injury-related expenses that began just after the injury first occurred. Medical expenses may include:
- Doctors’ bills
- Ambulance costs
- Hospital bills
- Lab tests
- Specialty equipment or care
- Long-term care
Lost wages include any earnings a victim was not paid because he or she was unable to work because of an injury. It includes past, present and future wages, if applicable. Your employer can verify the total compensation you have lost due to missed work by providing your normal rate of pay and the hours you missed.
This includes other costs related to the injury, such as prescribed medication, medical devices, gas and parking for traveling to and from medical appointments, rental car fees, and other costs incurred because of your injury. You should keep receipts to verify these costs.
Damage to Personal Property
This includes monetary losses associated with personal items that were damaged in the accident. This includes repair bills for your vehicle, fair market value for a totaled vehicle and reimbursement for personal property damaged in the accident. It can also include smaller personal items, such as a laptop, cellphone or jewelry. Keep receipts or generate estimates as to their value.
General Personal Injury Damages
General damages are not easily calculated. They are not always awarded in settlements or court documents, but if they are, their value is open to interpretation by the court. Some common forms of general damages include:
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering compensates the victim for pain and discomfort suffered due to the accident and resulting injury. It includes the suffering a victim has already encountered and can also include additional pain and suffering that will result from future treatment.
The value of these damages depends on the type of injury, the recovery period and if suffering will be ongoing. Pain is different from one person to the next, and compensation amounts vary greatly.
Victims may also be able to recover compensation if they have suffered emotional or psychological distress from the accident, including depression, anxiety, fear, insomnia and other clinical conditions. In most cases, a psychologist or psychiatrist will submit a narrative detailing your diagnosis and prognosis to demonstrate the severity of your distress.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Loss of enjoyment refers to present and future activities that you will not be able to pursue due to your injury. This includes exercising, hobbies, seeing friends and other activities. This compensation reflects how your life has been negatively impacted by your injury. Emotional testimony will describe how your life was before the accident, to indicate the severity of your loss.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium refers to the loss of intimacy and companionship due to a severe injury or loss of a spouse or significant other.
These damages are designed to punish the behavior of the liable party and to warn others from engaging in similar behavior. Punitive damages are rarely awarded and require the victim to prove the at-fault party acted maliciously or with extreme recklessness.
If punitive damages are awarded, New Jersey code section 2A:15-5.14 caps the award at five times the compensatory award or $350,000, whichever is greater.
The New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Lynch Law Firm are familiar with the many types of compensation available through a personal injury lawsuit. We will work to help make sure you receive the maximum amount you deserve for your injuries.
We will also advise you of how your recovery could be limited by the state's comparative negligence rule and will make sure you are not blamed for more than your share of fault.
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