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A Guide to Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Claims

Man clutches his neck in pain

When someone is injured due to the negligence of another person, they may be entitled to damages. In the personal injury context, there are two categories of damages available – compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are the typical damages that will be awarded in a personal injury case. They exist to compensate the injured person or their spouse for their losses. There are two main types of compensatory damages that are available – economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the quantifiable financial losses that the victim has suffered due to the accident. These can include medical expenses, lost wages or earnings, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the injuries sustained.

Calculating economic damages is usually straightforward, as the victim can provide documentation such as medical bills and pay stubs to prove their losses. However, it's important to note that future economic damages may also be considered in the compensation process, such as ongoing medical treatment or a loss of future earnings.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are more subjective and difficult to quantify. These damages are meant to compensate the victim for intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. They can also include compensation for the damage done to a spouse’s relationship with the injured spouse (this is called “loss of consortium”).

To determine the amount of non-economic damages, various factors are considered, including the severity of the injuries, the impact on the victim’s daily life, and the length of time it will take for the victim to recover/whether they will ever recover. The factfinder, whether it’s a judge or a jury, has wide discretion in determining the appropriate amount of non-economic damages an injured person should receive.

Punitive Damages

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if the defendant's conduct was particularly reckless or intentional. These damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.

It's important to note that each state has its own laws regarding damages in personal injury claims, and the amount of compensation can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the case. Some states have caps on certain categories of damages no matter what they evidence may show. Insurance companies may try to minimize the amount of compensation paid out, so it's important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve.

We’re Here to Help

Understanding the types of damages available in personal injury claims is important for anyone who has been injured due to someone else's negligence. While economic damages are relatively straightforward, non-economic damages require careful consideration of various factors to determine a fair and just compensation amount. Ultimately, having a knowledgeable attorney from Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP on your side can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Call our Los Angeles attorneys at (866) 634-4525 or contact us online to get in touch with someone from our team about the details of your case right away. We will fight to recover your full and fair compensation.