The key factor in determining what a personal injury lawsuit is worth is determining what the damages are. Whether you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit over injuries sustained from a slip & fall, car accident or faulty product, it all comes down to figuring out what your injuries have cost you physically, monetarily and mentally.
After all your medical information is obtained, a negotiated settlement among the parties, their insurance companies and attorneys can be reached. The person or company who is found legally responsible for the accident is the defendant. They will pay money damages to the person injured, also known as the plaintiff.
Common Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages awarded in a personal injury case. This is money awarded to the plaintiff for any loss after the accident.
Some of the different type of compensatory damages include:
- Property loss: Reimbursement for repairs or compensation for items damaged after the accident such as vehicles or clothing.
- Loss of income: This is compensation you may be entitled to receive for the wages you would have made in the past, but for the accident. This is, often confused with loss of earning capacity, which is the damages you may be entitled to because of the injuries you received in the accident that prevented you from making as much money in the future as you would have.
- Medical care: Damage awards usually always include the cost of medical treatment associated with the accident and future treatment needed because of the accident, if a doctor testifies the future treatment is more likely related to the accident.
- Pain and suffering: This is any physical or emotional discomfort you may have suffered because of the accident.
Punitive damages may also be awarded in a personal injury case. Punitive damages are damages awarded to a plaintiff to punish the defendant for a reckless or willful act. In Louisiana, if the defendant driver was drinking, and the drinking was the cause of the accident, you may be entitled to punitive damages.
A plaintiff’s role in an accident can also affect the amount of damages received.
- Comparative negligence occurs when the plaintiff is at least partially at fault for their injuries in the accident, and it reduces the amount of the damage award by the percentage of fault attributed to the plaintiff.
- Contributory negligence is in only a few states. This means, if the plaintiff is found partially to blame for the accident then they cannot receive any type of compensation whatsoever. Luckily, Louisiana does not have contributory negligence. Can you image being 1% at fault and not being able to collect the other 99%?