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If you are filing or planning to file a personal injury case, you may be wondering about damages. Damages are the types of things that you can be compensated for, but what exactly are the different types of damages? This short guide will go over the basics of damages, but it is no substitute for hiring a personal injury attorney. You should always take the time to speak with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury so you can receive information personalized to your unique situation. There are essentially three types of damages:
- Special Compensatory Damages
Despite the name, the most basic and straightforward type of damages is special compensatory damages. These are also the most common in personal injury cases. These include everything that has an objective monetary value. If you paid $2,500 in medical bills, then the objective value of those damages is $2,500. Any expense you had related to the injury can likely be claimed as special compensatory damages, but almost all damages of this type fall into four categories: medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and destroyed or damaged to property.
- General Compensatory Damages
On the other hand, all damages that do not have an objective monetary value are considered general compensatory damages. You can still claim these in your lawsuit. General compensatory damages include things like pain and suffering, emotional trauma, physical trauma, loss of ability, loss of enjoyment, or loss of a loved one. Because these types of damages do not have an objective monetary value, the judge will assign a value to it if he or she rules that they are reasonable to claim. For instance, a judge may decide that the experience of enduring a painful medical procedure is worth $500.
- Punitive Damages
The third type of damages is common in some types of court cases, but very rare in personal injury cases. Punitive damages refer to an amount of money that the judge rules the defendant must pay simply as a punishment. It is not meant to reward the plaintiff or act as compensation. In accidents, there is rarely any reason to punish the plaintiff. For personal injury cases, punitive damages are usually only granted if the defendant was found to be acting especially irresponsible, such as driving drunk, or acted maliciously to injure the plaintiff.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine which of these three categories any particular claim falls in. That is only one reason why it is so beneficial to hire a personal injury lawyer in Deer Park, TX.
Thanks to John K. Zaid & Associates for their insight into personal injury claims and types of damages.