Types of Damages Recoverable in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Posted in Personal Injury on July 31, 2018.

If you’ve suffered injuries due to another’s actions, you may be in the process of forming a personal injury lawsuit. Your goal is likely to recover compensation for your injuries and medical bills, and the laws in Alabama allow victims the right to file a claim after accidents to do just that.

The amount of compensation you can receive is dependent upon the exact circumstances of your case. The court will determine the value of your case based on the damages you have suffered. These damages are the same as the potentially recoverable damages in any other lawsuit and fall into three major categories: compensatory, general, and punitive.

Compensatory Damages

You were probably pursing compensatory damages when you started your lawsuit because you may want help paying your related medical bills after an accident. If your injuries have caused you to miss work and lose income, you may want compensation for lost wages, as well. These types of damages fall into the compensatory category.

Your attorney will use any bills and other documentation you’ve provided to pursue a compensatory amount as you proceed through the case. These types of damages are usually straightforward, and the court will settle on an amount based on the value of your bills and lost income and/or property.

General Damages

Unlike compensatory damages, which come from specific amounts of money, general damages are tangible. General damages can be very important, especially for plaintiffs with long-lasting injuries because you may recover general damages for future medical care and loss of income. General damages also may include compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.

Every case involving general damages is different and can have widely varying amounts of rewards. The court will often consider the plaintiff’s age, income, occupation, and the severity of the injuries when considering an award for general damages.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not related to any harm that has befallen the plaintiff, but are designed to discourage the behavior that resulted in injury in the first place. These damage awards are rare and difficult to obtain, because they often exceed the necessary amount of damages the plaintiff needs to recover.

The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant. The defendant will likely appeal the decision to cut the amount of the award in cases in which the court administers large punitive damage awards. Alabama law places a cap on the amount of punitive damages a plaintiff can recover.

Nominal Damages

Nominal damages occur when the court rules the defendant is liable for the accident, but the overall damage to the plaintiff was minimal. You’re likely to receive nominal damages if your injuries did not incur any substantial cost or long-lasting effects.

If you’ve suffered an injury due to someone else’s actions and are filing a lawsuit, it’s important to understand the exact level of damages your case is worth. Trying to determine the value of your case on your own can be complicated because of the different elements of the legal system. A consultation with an attorney will help you determine the type(s) of damages you are likely to receive and the amount you are likely to recover.

The attorneys at the Mitchell Law Firm, LLC have 35 years of combined experience working with personal injury cases. We understand how to determine your damages and we will fight for your rightful compensation in court. We can help make sure any settlement offer you receive is fair and appropriate for your case. Our attorneys can help you maximize the value of your recovery, regardless of the categories of damages your case includes.