What Damages Can You Recover in a Personal Injury Case?
People often ask us what damages they can recover when they are injured. Many think damages are limited to doctors and hospital expenses. Depending on the nature of your injuries, there are often a wide variety of damages that an accident victim can recover that go far beyond medical expenses.
Accidents can result in significant personal injuries that create many expenses for the victims and their families and can cause extreme financial hardship. A victim should not have to suffer the physical and financial consequences of an accident for which he or she was not at fault. Therefore, the law allows personal injury victims to bring lawsuits and recover damages against those responsible for their injuries.
Personal injury damages are intended to put the victim back in the position that he or she would have been had the accident not occurred. While a lawsuit cannot erase the physical pain and emotional suffering of an injured victim, it can provide relief from the financial suffering that the victim may incur as a result of the accident.
The damages a personal injury victim can recover are typically divided into the following two categories:
1. Special Damages
2. General Damages
In a personal injury claim, special damages (also known as economic damages) are awarded to compensate the victim for actual expenses incurred as a result of an accident. These damages are what we typically call “out of pocket” expenses. The most common types of special damages in a personal injury case include:
Medical Expenses – This includes both past and future medical expenses incurred as a result of your personal injuries. Medical expenses would include doctors and hospital bills, ambulance fees, laboratory charges, physical therapy bills, and costs of medicines.
- Property Damage – This includes damages to your vehicle in an auto accident, or any other personal items damaged or destroyed as a result of the accident.
- Loss of Income – If your personal injuries cause you to miss time from work, or cause you to be unable to remain in the same job that you had before the accident, then you may be entitled to recover lost income. If you are injured in a manner that prevents you from working in the future, you may be able to recover for future lost income. You may also be entitled to compensation for lost income of a family member upon whom you relied for income, who died as a result of personal injuries from an accident.
- Loss of Use Damages – These are damages for not being able to use your property because of the accident. This commonly includes the cost of a rental car during the time your vehicle is being repaired after an accident.