By: Timothy L. Miles, Esq. | Personal Injury Attorney|Nashville
In a personal injury lawsuit, plaintiffs can get compensation for certain types of damages related to their injuries. There are several different types of damages you could get in a personal injury lawsuit. Some are “economic” and tied to specific costs incurred in after of an injury, and “noneconomic,” which are more subjective, such as pain and suffering.
This can include tests, treatment, hospital stays, and outpatient care to address immediate injuries. Medical care could also be required on an ongoing basis, especially if there are serious or permanent injuries. Overall, this can be expensive. The injured can face medical bills that are thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Damages assessed against the defendant in a settlement or trial should, ideally, cover all of this.
You were injured and you had to miss work. Whether it’s the loss of a few days or the inability to work going forward, you could be entitled to compensation for those lost wages.
Pain and Suffering
This is calculated and awarded based on the amount of the pain and suffering the plaintiff endured — your type of injury and what medical treatment was required. The plaintiff will need to have as much evidence as possible to prove the impact of an injury caused by the negligence of another.
Medical records, which can show diagnoses, prescriptions, clinical visits and hospital stays, are a major way of showing both the extent and duration of recovery from an injury. This only works, though, if you are proactive about your treatment and communicate with your physician in a comprehensive manner. It can also be helpful to take photos and videos of your injuries and keep written records of your symptoms.
In gathering sufficient evidence that accurately represents your condition, you are providing information the court (or even an insurance adjuster) could use to estimate how much money you should get for pain and suffering. In court there generally isn’t a single, standard calculation used to assess a dollar amount on pain and suffering, although you will read about a “multiplier” calculation. In fact, a jury could award compensation for pain and suffering based on fairly subjective factors, such as the credibility of the plaintiff’s testimony and whether they even like the plaintiff. Having records and related evidence can help bolster your case for pain and suffering compensation in the face of these subjective factors.
This type of compensation is related to an injured person’s mental and emotional state following an accident. Depending on the nature of the accident, a personal injury victim could suffer anything from anxiety and depression to severe mental trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Acquiring damages from emotional distress typically requires you to have comprehensive and accurate records from your therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, as well as a diagnosis of a specific psychiatric condition.
The compensation provided by an award of damages for wrongful death can help ease the financial burdens associated with the loss of a loved one. Compensation awarded is designed to cover the lost income, leftover bills, and funeral expenses survivors face because of the death of their family member. It is also designed to help compensate for less specifically quantifiable aspects of a wrongful death, such as the sudden and unnecessary loss of someone’s spouse or parent. For example, laws will generally refer to this as something like “lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance” for children who survive their parents.
Loss of Consortium
If you are injured to such an extent that you can’t truly carry on a complete relationship with your spouse or partner (or vice versa) — or one of you were killed in an accident — you could be eligible for compensation for loss of consortium (AKA “loss of companionship”).
Plaintiffs in certain states could be eligible for punitive damages, a type of award that punishes defendants whose injurious actions were particularly egregious. This differentiates this type of compensation from other damages, which are primarily designed to make the injured plaintiff whole again. Not only does a punitive damages award punish the defendant, but it also can serve as a deterrent that dissuades other parties and companies from engaging in similar activity. For the court to award such compensation to a plaintiff, the actions must have been either intentional or the result of wanton and willful misconduct.