The word “damages” is perhaps the most often used term in any lawsuit. But like any other legal term, it has a very specific meaning, and has to be used in the right context. However, one may assume that damages simply refer to a physical injury or the outcome of any accident. But that is not the case, not only does the term “damage” have a specific definition, it is also has a variety of types and connotations specifically to be used as per the case in question. Any top injury lawyer will be able to tell you all about it. So, we are here to demystify the concept of damages for you.
Simply put, as per the definition by Kenton, civil damages refer how to much money you may get in a settlement or court award. Damages are further divided into – (a) compensatory, (b) nominal, and (c) punitive. The type of damages as well as the worth of your claim can be decided as per the documentation you provide to your injury attorney to highlight the outcome of your accident. Some examples of such documentation are:
1. Medical expenses
3. Transportation bills
4. Receipt to show for any equipment / devices you need to buy, for example, wheelchair
5. Proof to show for any housekeeper / help you had to recruit due to the injury
Please note that the above list is not exhaustive. Your personal injury lawyer will ask you for an exact list of things required which are relevant to your claims and damages. Now that we know about the documentation which helps arrive at the damages, let understand the different types of damages:
1. Compensatory damages – These damages refer to the ones which can be identified easily and are concrete in nature. For example, damage to property, physical injuries and resultant medical care, loss of income, etc. Compensatory damages are further divided into:
a. Economic damages – includes loss to income, medical expenses, etc.
b. Non-economic damages – includes pain & suffering, emotional trauma, insult / humiliation, loss of any lifestyle habits (unable to carry out certain activities, say cycling) Your injury attorney will consider the economic and non-economic damages to arrive at the claim.
2. Nominal damages – These damages refer to a small amount given to a victim in case where the legal rights of the plaintiff have been violated but no suffering has occurred, per se. Since no actual loss has happened, the damages paid are low or nominal. In such a scenario, you may hire a personal injury lawyer or may even decide to self-represent.
3. Punitive damages – These damages included a two-fold motive – (a) provide settlement to the client and (b) punish the defendant in light of the error committed. This is usually in cases where there is a need to set an example or deter the at-fault party to commit such an act again. An example of punitive damages would be a manufacturer selling a product using false claims due to which a customer suffers an injury. Hence, in such a case, the victim may be awarded punitive damages which provides compensation and punishes the manufacturer. Since these are the most severe kind of damages, the compensation is usually higher than nominal and compensatory damages. At the same time, punitive damages are also the most difficult to prove.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to someone’s negligence and you need the best injury attorney, contact Siler & Ingber today. Call us on 1-877-529-4343 or complete our online form on this page to schedule a case evaluation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. Our consultation is free and we do not charge a fee unless we win your case.