Below, we discuss some of the monetary damages that are included on personal injury claims, but it’s not an exhaustive list. If you are filing a claim, you’ll want to run your case by an attorney to ensure that you have accounted for all of the personal injury damages for which you are eligible. There are likely items that you may forget to include (such as your gas costs to and from your medical appointments), and you don’t want to risk shortchanging yourself.
Special damages are the direct, out-of-pocket expenses you have as a result of your injury. These compensatory damages are tangible, monetary and easily tallied.
Types of special damages include:
- emergency room and hospital bills;
- all current and future medical bills related to your injury;
- medical devices, prescriptions, surgeries and other treatments;
- lost wages;
- repair and replacement of property;
- reduced capacity to work or disability;
- the financial costs of living with a disability (e.g., making a home wheelchair accessible);
- loss of promotion;
- cost of counseling or mental health services related to the effects of the accident;
- injury-related transportation costs; and
- the cost of hiring someone to perform the duties around the house that you normally would perform.
The second type of damages, general damages, are the intangible, harder-to-calculate losses you’ve experienced as a result of the injury. Unlike special damages that can be substantiated with evidence such as bills and receipts, general damages are non-monetary and can be somewhat harder to prove in a personal injury claim.
These types of damages include:
- emotional distress;
- mental anguish;
- pain and suffering;
- scarring and disfigurement;
- loss of enjoyment in life or in doing the things you once were able; and
- the effect your injuries have had on your relationships.
There is also a third type of damages, punitive damages, that is sometimes awarded in a personal injury settlement. However, they are only used as a form of punishment in cases in which there was gross negligence or malice involved.
Compensatory Damages: Determining the Value of Your Claim
There is no set formula to calculate the value of a personal injury claim. In many instances, the task necessitates the services of a forensic economist. A certified, experienced forensic economist will be able to estimate difficult-to-establish figures such as the financial loss a victim experiences over the course of his or her lifetime because of a reduced capacity to work.
If you are filing a personal injury claim to recover compensatory damages, you’ll want to consult an attorney before agreeing to any settlement offers. Prematurely agreeing could mean thousands of dollars in lost monetary damages for you. Your attorney will be able to look over your claim, help obtain the services of an economist if necessary and pursue the highest level of personal injury damages for which you’re eligible.
Free Consult on Compensatory Damages with Attorney Julie Johnson
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