Injury Damages Laws
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What Are Some Laws on Injury Damages?
When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, the legal remedy usually ends up being a monetary damages award to help compensate the victim. However, each state can have very different laws on personal injury damages, so it’s helpful to understand how damages work.
One of the main principles for all types of damages is that the amount paid to the plaintiff should be reasonable, and should be in proportion to the severity of the victim’s injury. This is especially true for certain types of damages awards, namely punitive damages. Most laws on injury damages seek to avoid unnecessarily high monetary damages awards.
What are the Different Types of Injury Damages?
Some basic types of personal injury damages awards may include:
- Compensatory damages - Reimburse the plaintiff for their losses directly associated with the injury
- Special damages - These are related to specific issues such as lost wages, irreplaceable items, or specific medical expenses
- Nominal damages - Help establish the plaintiff’s rights in the event that there is little or no injury (for instance, in a trespass lawsuit); these types of damages may not apply in all injury claims
- Punitive damages - Punish or discourage the defendant; not available in all cases; a compensatory damages award usually needs to be issued first
Thus, the laws on injury damages often depend on the exact nature of the injury involved, as well as the types of losses suffered by the plaintiff. For instance, one claim might involve compensatory damages and special damages. However, most cases involve some form of compensatory damages.
Are There Limits on Injury Damages?
Some states enforce limits on injury damages. Specifically, some areas enforce caps (maximum amounts) for medical malpractice injury awards. Also, many jurisdictions put limits on damages for pain and suffering.
Finally, as mentioned there are often strict limits on punitive damages. These are generally reserved only for cases involving intentional conduct by the defendant, or conduct that is grossly negligent or reckless. Also, punitive damages cannot be excessive and are often calculated at anywhere from 3-9 times the amount of compensatory damages issued. Again, this will depend on the nature of the case involved, and the state laws on injury damages.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Injury Damages Laws?
Personal injury damages can be very different from case to case, and from state to state. You may need to hire an experienced injury attorney in your area if you need to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer will be able to assist you when it comes to the different laws that might affect your claim. Also, if you need representation during the actual court hearings, your lawyer can provide you with guidance during the legal process.
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Last Modified: 10-13-2014 03:51 PM PDT
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