The initial step in every personal injury lawsuit is to establish negligence. The plaintiff must then establish the other party’s negligence directly caused their injury, which is known as causation. The injured party must then decide what damages they are attempting to recover in the settlement.
There are two basic categories of recoverable damages in a personal injury lawsuit: compensatory and punitive. To determine if one (or both) will be able to satisfy a harm claim, plaintiffs must comprehend the differences between the two.
Major Personal Injury Case Types
Personal injury law, commonly known as “tort” law, aims to make amends for those who suffer losses as a result of the conduct of others. Typical personal injury claim examples include:
- Auto mishaps: The majority of personal injury claims and lawsuits in the US are related to auto accidents. When drivers break the law of the road, car accidents frequently result.
- Falling-off cases: A “slip and fall” case, sometimes known as a “premises liability” case, is another typical sort of personal injury case. Legal obligations require property owners to keep their homes and businesses secure. A person may file a lawsuit against the property owner for damages if they suffer an injury as a result of the unsafe property
- Product liability: People who sustain injuries as a result of a faulty or excessively dangerous product may bring a lawsuit against the product’s seller and maker.
- Accidents account for the majority of personal injury claims, but you can also file a lawsuit against someone who purposefully hurts you.
Medical malpractice, dog bite injuries, defamation, wrongful death, and child sexual abuse claims are more instances of personal injury cases.
Two Different Forms of Compensatory Damages
They are meant to restore plaintiffs to their pre-injury state, to the extent that is practicable. Compensation damages can be split into two primary groups: special and general.
Special damages, sometimes referred to as “economic damages,” reimburse claimants for out-of-pocket costs associated with their injuries. Among exceptional damages examples are
- lost wages (past and future)
- medical expenses (past and future)
- the price of replacing damaged goods, cleaning services, and household expenses while the plaintiff is healing.
Special damages are easier to quantify than general damages, sometimes known as “non-economic damages.” They are designed to make up for plaintiffs’ intangible losses resulting from harm, such as
- Trauma and Stress (both physical and mental),
- bodily impairment or disfigurement,
- loss of reputation,
- loss of pleasure in life.
Death by Mistake Damages
The surviving family members of the victim may bring a wrongful death claim or lawsuit when the victim dies as a result of another person’s negligence or wilful wrongdoing.
Damages for wrongful death include, for instance:
- burial and funeral costs
- Cost of the deceased person’s pre-death medical care, together with their pain and suffering, due to emotional anguish (called a “survival claim”)
- Loss of consortium as well as loss of the expected income and services that the deceased person would have given.
The person in charge of the victim’s estate often brings wrongful death claims on behalf of the survivors. The precise criteria for someone to count as a survivor differs from state to state.
The purpose of compensatory damages is to make up for the plaintiffs’ losses. Punitive damages are something else. Punitive damages are intended to hold defendants accountable for their improper conduct. Punitive damages are typically only available in places where there has been purposeful wrongdoing, such as a serious battery, sexual assault, or massive financial fraud. Punitive damages are permitted in other states when there has been “gross negligence.” When defendants disregard the safety or life of others, they exhibit extreme negligence.
Speak with a lawyer
Speak with a lawyer if you’re considering bringing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. A lawyer can provide you with information and assist you in determining the worth of your settlement. From Siler & Ingber, find out more about selecting a personal injury attorney.