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What Are the “Damages” in a Personal Injury Claim?

On Behalf of The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles, P.C.

January 16, 2024

In personal injury cases, the term “damages” refers to the compensation awarded to an individual who has suffered harm due to the wrongful actions of another party. This concept is a fundamental part of personal injury law. When someone gets hurt because of another party’s negligence or intentional act, the courts aim to “make them whole” again by awarding them damages. 

Damages serve as a financial tool to address a variety of losses an individual has experienced. These losses can include medical bills, lost wages, and the emotional impact of the injury. The primary purpose of awarding damages is to restore the injured person to the position they would have been in if the injury had not occurred – or as close to it as possible. This compensation is essential in acknowledging the suffering and loss the injured party has endured and providing a means to aid in their recovery.

Economic Damages

Economic damages account for the measurable financial losses a person incurs because of an injury. These damages cover the actual money the injured person has lost or will lose due to their injury. For example, if someone can’t work because of an injury, economic damages would include the wages they’ve lost. They also cover medical expenses, both for past and future treatments related to the injury. Additionally, if the injury leads to long-term or permanent disability, economic damages can include the cost of modifications to the person’s home, vehicle, or lifestyle. 

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages refer to compensation for losses without a measurable financial cost. Unlike economic damages, there’s no specific bill or expense that these damages cover. They are for more personal and subjective losses that a person experiences due to an injury. For example, non-economic damages can cover pain and suffering, which refers to the physical and emotional distress from the injury. Another common type of non-economic compensation is loss of enjoyment of life, which applies when an injury prevents someone from taking part in their usual hobbies or daily activities. These damages recognize the significant, though less tangible, impacts an injury can have on a person’s life.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are a special type of monetary award in personal injury cases. Courts award these damages not to compensate the injured party but to punish the individual or company that caused the harm. They come into play when the wrongdoer’s actions are more than just careless, showing either intentional harm or extreme recklessness. The primary aim of punitive damages is to signal that such behavior is unacceptable and to discourage others from acting in a similar way. They serve as a penalty for the wrongdoer’s harmful behavior. 

How a Lawyer Can Maximize Your Payout

A skilled injury lawyer can protect your rights and maximize your compensation after an injury. They can gather evidence, build a strong case highlighting the full extent of your losses, and negotiate with liable parties to get you the highest possible settlement. Experienced lawyers understand the nuances of injury law and use this knowledge to advocate for their clients’ best interests, both in and out of court.

Ready to pursue the compensation you deserve? Contact The Law Offices of Goldfine & Bowles now for an initial consultation, and take your first step toward a fair recovery.