Possible Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Cases
Filing a medical malpractice claim against a medical provider or facility is a daunting prospect, especially if you don’t know what type of relief to expect. These cases fall into the personal injury category of lawsuits. As such, the compensation you receive should you prevail falls under the three damage types a plaintiff is entitled to under personal injury lawsuits.
Damages are financial awards a judge or jury award a plaintiff if the defendant is found negligent and guilty of causing the injury or illness claimed by the lawsuit. It helps to have some knowledge about damages work and are awarded in these cases, so you can better prepare for the possible outcomes of the case.
The first and most frequently awarded financial compensation in personal injury lawsuits are known as compensatory damages. This award reimburses a plaintiff for out-of-pocket expenses and losses incurred as a result of the injury or illness. They are tangible and have receipts or bills attached to them. Some common examples of compensatory damages include things like the cost of rehabilitation, medication and medical bills. Lost income and property damage can also be considered as part of compensatory damage awards.
Along with compensatory damages, your attorney may file a request for compensation for general damages. This amount is less concrete and more subjective. A plaintiff rarely receives general damages without having gotten compensatory damages. In deciding whether to award general damages, a court may contemplate the severity of the injury and the age of the plaintiff. The reason for this is general damages often consider future losses in wages. Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, are examples of the general damages. There is not a real dollar amount calculated, and while the plaintiff may place a figure on a general damages request, it is up to the court to determine what is fair.
The most controversial type of award in a personal injury case is those known as punitive damages. When you hear about a jury awarding a plaintiff a large sum of money, these are usually in the form of punitive damages. Courts typically hand down this type of compensation as a punishment against the defendant for the heinous nature of the injury. For example, in a medical malpractice suit, a doctor who operated on a patient while intoxicated may face a steep punitive damage punishment. The more severe the negligence, the more likely the court may award the plaintiff greater punitive damages.
It is important to note that state laws vary on the type of damages a plaintiff may receive in personal injury cases. Therefore, retaining a medical malpractice attorney, like a medical malpractice law firm in Indianapolis, IN, who is familiar with the laws of your state is essential.
Thank you to the experts at Ward & Ward Law Firm, for their insight into personal injury law.