What Damages am I Entitled to Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When you sustain injuries caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you are entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for causing the accident or event that resulted in your injuries. While you are not entitled per se to recover damages against the defendant, you can reasonably expect to recover both economic and noneconomic damages, both of which are referred to as compensatory damages. Such damages compensate you for your losses, present and future, arising from your injuries, as a personal injury lawyer, like from Davis & Brusca, can explain.

Economic Damages

You, your attorney, the defendant’s insurance company and, if your case goes to trial, the jury can establish the amount of your economic damages fairly easily. Why? Because you undoubtedly have bills for most of them, such as for the following:

  • Ambulance transport
  • Hospitalization
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Treatments, therapies and procedures
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitation
  • Follow-up doctor and therapist appointments
  • Medical equipment, including a hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, crutches, prostheses, etc.
  • In-home costs, including actual care and refitting your home to accommodate any disability your injuries require
  • Lost wages or salary while you’re off work

Keep in mind that in terms of medical and rehabilitation costs and lost wages, your economic damage include not only those you incur prior to filing your lawsuit, but also the reasonably expected costs and loss of income you likely will incur in the future because of your injuries.

Noneconomic Damages

No one, not even you, can place a precise dollar figure on your noneconomic damages. Why? Because these damages represent your more subjective losses, such as for the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental distress and anguish
  • Emotional conditions, including depression, anger, embarrassment, etc.
  • Scarring, especially of your face
  • Amputation
  • Paralysis
  • Blindness or substantial visual impairment
  • Deafness or substantial loss of hearing

Complete, detailed medical and other records can help establish the value of these losses. So can hiring expert witnesses to testify on your behalf if your case goes to trial.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages represent another type of damages you may recover if the facts and circumstances of your case warrant them. You are not entitled to receive punitive damages, however. Rather, the court can award them to you, over and above your compensatory damages, if the jury determines that the defendant acted in a particularly egregious, reckless or malicious way in causing your injuries.

Need for an Attorney

Unfortunately, personal injury lawsuits can be, and often are, quite complicated. They can also take a long time to settle or go to trial. For these and numerous other reasons, you likely will need to hire an experienced local personal injury attorney to guide you through the process.