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  • By: Moss Bollinger
  • Published: October 21, 2021
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If you are injured in any type of accident caused by the negligent or intentional conduct of another party, you have a right to be compensated for your losses. Personal injury plaintiffs sue for compensatory damages and, in some cases, punitive damages. There are two types of compensatory damages – special and general. Punitive damages are awarded in very rare circumstances. They are intended to punish the defendant and are not related to the type of loss suffered by the plaintiff.

General damages are those damages awarded for non-monetary damages incurred that flow naturally from an accident. These damages compensate plaintiffs for the harm that is “generally” suffered in an accident. All personal injury victims typically have some amount of general damages or else they do not have a personal injury claim. General damages are hard to quantify.

Special damages are those damages awarded for the out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of an accident. They are unique to each case and each accident victim. For example, one person may incur $150,000 in medical bills because of an accident. Another person may incur $5,000 in medical bills resulting from the same accident. Compared to general damages, special damages are easier to calculate because the damage and exact out-of-pocket loss is represented by a bill and accounting.

Here is a list of the damages available in a personal injury case.

*Medical Expenses

These are special damages and include bills for treatment, surgery, therapy, medicine, and any reasonable medical expense incurred that resulted from the accident. However, you may need to use your own insurance to cover your medical bills while your personal injury case is pending. Simply because you use your own insurance coverage does not mean that you cannot pursue compensation for medical expenses from the party legally responsible for the accident. Keep in mind that if you recover damages for your injuries, you will likely be required to repay your insurance company for any advanced costs.

*Lost Income

These are special damages. If you are employed by a third party, self-employed, regularly, occasionally full-time, or part-time, you have a right to reimbursement for the following:

  • Lost income caused by being unable to work because of the injuries caused by the accident, and
  • Lost income caused by missed time at work because of undergoing treatment for your injuries.

This involves proving the time lost and the amount of earnings lost with reasonable certainty. It also pertains to future income for serious disabling injuries.

*Pain and Suffering/ Emotional Distress

These are general damages because they naturally flow from an accident. Although hard to quantify in a monetary amount, these are general damages since everyone injured in an accident experiences some

level of pain and suffering. Like pain and suffering, some amount of emotional distress naturally flows from an accident. Thus, emotional distress is a type of pain and suffering.

*Loss of Companionship/Loss of Consortium

Loss of companionship, otherwise known by its legal term as loss of consortium, describes the effect that an injury has on the social and economic aspects of relationships that are lost because of an injury. The uninjured spouse in a personal injury case may have the right to file a separate claim to recover non-economic damages in this situation.

*Wrongful Death

If an accident results in the death of a loved one, surviving family members are entitled to file a wrongful death action and recover damages that include but are not limited to burial and funeral expenses, the deceased’s future income, and compensation for the loss of the deceased’s companionship and support.

*Punitive Damages

These are only available in rare instances and are only used to punish a defendant’s egregious behavior.

If you have suffered an injury in any type of accident, and another party is responsible for the harm caused, you have a right to compensatory damages for your losses. The personal injury attorneys at Moss Bollinger can help you assert your valuable right to compensation. Moss Bollinger is dedicated to protecting and asserting the rights of our clients. Call (310) 982-2291 today for a free consultation or contact us online.

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