Personal injury is a legal term for injuries to the body, mind, and/or emotions. The legal system permits an injured person to go to court to get a legal remedy for the losses stemming from the accident.
Typical personal injury cases are injuries stemming from automobile accidents, injuries occurring while the injured person was on another’s property, animal bites, defamation claims, construction accidents and injuries from defective products. Claimants that win a judgment in court are awarded pain and suffering damages.
In a personal injury lawsuit, compensatory damages are paid by the defendant to the victim to compensate them for losses caused by the personal injury. Compensatory damages may be awarded for a wide range of different losses.
In some cases, compensatory damages can cover other damages that are a “reasonable consequence” of the defendant’s negligence. Each state may have different limits and rules regarding compensatory damage awards. In general, a judge or jury can exercise wide discretionary power when calculating and issuing compensatory damage awards.
Compensatory damages are involved in many civil claims, including:
Compensatory damages may be awarded in two different forms. First, “special damages” compensate the victim for their monetary losses. Secondly, “general damages” compensate the victim for non-monetary losses.
While the specific rules may vary by jurisdiction, the following personal injury losses can be recovered through a compensatory damages award:
Special compensatory damages are monetary expenses that are incurred by the plaintiff because of the injury. Special compensatory damages are unique to the plaintiff's claim and are designed to cover any expenses or loss that are related to the injury.
In some jurisdictions, personal injury laws place a “cap” or limit on the amount of damages that a victim can receive in a lawsuit. In any case, a compensatory damages award must be reasonable and proportionate to the victim’s losses.
When calculating compensatory damages in a personal injury claim, courts will usually consider factors such as:
All of these factors are considered in detail, and the victim may need to provide additional proof in light of such factors. For example, the victim may need to provide documents such as pay stubs, medical receipts, and witness testimonies.
A plaintiff becomes entitled to damages in a personal injury claim after a settlement has been reached or after a court has awarded a judgment. Being granted compensatory damages and actually collecting the damages are different.
The procedures for collecting compensatory damages in a personal injury claim can be complex in any civil litigation. The most frequent steps include:
Some other common personal injury damages include:
A personal injury settlement is where the parties to a lawsuit reach a resolution independently, outside of the normal mechanisms of the civil court system. In a personal injury settlement, the parties reach an agreement regarding the losses that the injured party suffered. In most cases this results in the liable party making monetary payments such as compensatory damages to cover the costs of the injured party.
In general, the main point of a settlement is for both parties to avoid the loss of time and resources associated with a full-blown trial.
Filing for compensatory damages can sometimes be a complex task. If you need assistance with a personal injury claim, you may wish to speak with a personal injury lawyer for advice and/or representation in court. Since personal injury and tort laws vary by state, you may need the expertise of an attorney for your lawsuit.
Last Modified: 09-08-2017 11:59 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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