What Losses Are Recoverable When You Have Been Injured?
In the aftermath of an accident, where the wrongful acts of another person have caused you to suffer physical and financial loss, you have the right to seek compensation, commonly referred to in the legal system as “damages.” What types of damages are available in a personal injury lawsuit and how are they commonly calculated?
What Types of Losses May Be Recovered in a Personal Injury Claim?
There are generally six different types of losses for which a plaintiff (injured party) may be financially compensated:
- Loss of income or wages—This may involve a salary, commission-based income, self-employment income or any other compensation that cannot be earned because of an injury
- Unreimbursed medical expenses—Any necessary medical treatment that is not covered by insurance may be sought in a personal injury lawsuit
- Loss of enjoyment of life—The inability to engage in ordinary acts of daily life or the inability to engage in hobbies or activities that previously brought fulfillment, joy or satisfaction
- Loss of companionship or consortium—The inability to have a close, personal relationship with loved ones because of an injury
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Property damage or loss
How Are Losses or Damages Categorized in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
At the highest level, damages are considered to be either compensatory or punitive. Punitive damages are rarely granted in a personal injury lawsuit—most damages are compensatory, designed to reimburse the injured party for a specific loss.
Compensatory damages are generally considered to be either economic or non-economic damages:
- Economic damages—These are tangible and easily calculated. Common examples include lost wages or income (proven through payroll data), unreimbursed medical expenses (proven through receipts) and property damage (receipts or valuations).
- Non-economic damages—These are less tangible and more difficult to ascertain. Loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship/consortium, and physical/mental pain and suffering are all forms of non-economic damages. Courts take a variety of approaches when instructing juries regarding the calculation of these damages. Some use a “multiplier” approach, where the actual losses are tallied and a factor (between 1 and 10, generally) is used to calculate non-economic damages. For example, if actual losses are $500,000, the court may apply a factor of 2 and award $1,000,000 for non-economic damages (2 x $500,000). Other courts will instruct jurors to award “reasonable” damages.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we will aggressively help you pursue full and fair compensation when you have suffered any type of loss because of the carelessness or negligence of another person. Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.