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What Is Your Personal Injury Claim Worth?

By Andrew R. Bronsnick

When you’ve been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, it can affect every area of your life, and have financial consequences every time you turn around. You may be unable to work and earn any wages. You may have medical bills that aren’t being covered or reimbursed. You may need to retrofit your home or vehicle to accommodate your injuries. As a consequence, it’s important to understand the different types of damages available in a personal injury lawsuit.

The Different Types Of Damages In A Personal Injury Claim

As a general rule, the compensation to which you’ll be entitled in the aftermath of a personal injury can be divided into two distinct types—compensatory damages and punitive damages. Punitive damages—designed as a penalty based on the defendant’s actions—are extremely difficult to obtain, typically awarded only if you can show a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Compensatory damages, on the other hand, are fairly common, intended to compensate you for actual losses.

Compensatory damages are categorized as economic or non-economic losses. Economic losses are those which are tangible, which represent either expense incurred as a result of the accident or revenues lost. They are typically relatively easy to calculate and include lost wages and income, medical bills, property damage, the costs of rehabilitation or physical therapy, and any expenses necessary to accommodate your injury or disability. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are a bit more speculative and include the monetary value of the loss of consortium or companionship, the loss of enjoyment of life (the ability to engage in activities that you like) and the monetary value of any pain and suffering you experience.

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