Damages in Personal Injury Cases
You may be a very health- and safety-conscious individual who never gets into accidents due to your alertness. However, some things are completely out of your control, such as a drunk driver careening recklessly down the road, a floor that has just been mopped yet left unmarked, or an educated doctor who fails to recognize your disease and diagnose it correctly. Yet this is exactly what makes a personal injury case different from just an accident — someone else’s negligence the cause of harm to you or someone you love.
Causes of Personal Injury
As mentioned above, there are plenty of different things that can cause personal injury. Motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, premise liability, and product liability are but a few of the broader categories covered in this type of law. Often, depending on your state’s laws, a major part of proving your case in these instances relies on proving negligence on behalf of the guilty party, as well as proving that you suffered significant injuries.
Personal Injury Damages
There are two main types of damages, compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages seek to counteract all the expenses that occur as a result of the injury, including actual medical bills and lost wages as well as the emotional cost of an injury. Punitive damages are awarded more as a punishment to the negligent party who caused the harm, to discourage them from acting in the same reckless manner in the future.
Compensatory damages can be divided into two broad categories, monetary and non-monetary. Monetary expenses generally refer to the cost of taking care of the injury. This includes doctor bills, the cost of rehabilitation, and the future cost of medical needs. Additionally, an injury may disable someone, requiring a change in lifestyle. For example, if someone becomes a quadriplegic in a personal injury case, he or she may have to renovate the home so that it is handicap accessible.
Also, if someone is injured so that he or she can no longer work or is killed, the family can press for lost wages. This is especially important if the injured party was the primary financial caregiver in a family. If the person is killed, the guilty party may also pay for funeral expenses.
For non-monetary expenses, a court typically looks at the degree of pain and suffering endured by the injured party and the family. Also, they may consider a loss of consortium, which refers to a person who may no longer be able to provide comfort and companionship or even sexual relations with the spouse due to the injury.
Punitive damages, as mentioned above, are usually levied as an additional punishment for the party at fault. As well as acting as a future warning to other, similar entities, it also encourages the guilty party to change the egregious actions so that no one else is hurt in the future.
If you or someone you know has suffered from a personal injury, you should speak to a lawyer about the damages that you may be able to receive. For more information, contact a respected Wisconsin personal injury attorney from the firm of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 800-242-2874.