Types of Compensation You Could Receive From a Personal Injury
Compensable personal injuries may stem from a range of causes from car accidents and medical malpractice claims to dog bites and slip-and-fall cases. Car accidents alone caused 4.6 million injuries in 2017. Since only certain types of damages may be covered in a personal injury award, however, it’s important to understand the options that might be available.
Main Compensatory Damages
When filing a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident or slip-and-fall accident, there are a large number of compensatory damages that can be sought. The vast majority of the damages qualify as compensatory, which means that they are designed to provide the affected individual with compensation for something that was lost because of the injury. For instance, any medical bills that were incurred from the accident would qualify as compensatory because they initially took money away from the affected individual. This type of compensation is essentially meant to “even the score” for the plaintiff. Since medical bills could continue into the future, however, payouts are usually calculated to anticipate future treatments. Medical bills and property damage are fairly straightforward in a personal injury case since it’s easy to place a value on them. However, the emotional and physical pain and suffering that occurred because of the accident can be more difficult to assign a value to. This is why there are various methods used during personal injury cases to assign values to non-tangible damages. Along with the bills from medical treatment as well as property loss, some of the other compensatory damages that can be obtained through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Lost wages from being unable to work
- Loss of companionship if there was a wrongful death
- A general loss of enjoyment of day-to-day pursuits
- Emotional distress
A personal injury lawyer will be able to help you identify which of these types of compensation apply to you and your case.
Potential Punitive Damages
While the vast majority of damages sought in a personal injury case are considered to be compensatory damages, it’s also possible for punitive damages to be sought in certain scenarios. If the conduct from the defendant is believed to have been extremely careless or egregious before the injuries occurred, punitive damages may be awarded alongside the compensatory damages. While compensatory damages are designed to replace something that the plaintiff lost because of their injuries, punitive damages are awarded as a means of punishing the defendant. New Jersey punitive damages are capped at $350,000 or five times the total amount of compensatory damages, whichever of the two is greater.
How the Plaintiff Can Affect the Amount of Compensation Awarded
There are times when the actions of a plaintiff can directly affect the amount of compensation that’s awarded from a personal injury case. For instance, if you are believed to have been partly at fault for the initial accident, it’s possible that the compensation awarded to you will take this into account. If you are deemed to have no fault in the accident, you’ll likely receive more compensation than someone who is calculated to be 30 percent at fault for the accident. It’s also possible that compensation could be lowered because of a failure to mitigate damages. If possible, the victim of a personal injury is supposed to take steps to lessen the amount of damage that follows the accident. This mitigation typically takes the form of seeking treatment for apparent injuries. Since injuries can worsen when left untreated, the injured person may attempt to receive higher amounts of compensation by neglecting medical attention. However, this can be easily detected and may cause compensation to be heavily reduced. That’s one reason why a personal injury victim should seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. If you feel as though another party is at fault for causing your injuries, legal action may be necessary. Call our New Jersey personal injury lawyer in Parsippany at (973) 585-6982 to schedule a free consultation.