Understanding the Types of Damages for Different Personal Injuries


If you’ve been injured as a result of the negligence or intentional wrongful actions of another person or organization, tort laws entitle you to receive compensation for your losses. You may receive compensation through an out-of-court settlement with the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company or through a lawsuit. The legal term for this form of compensation is “damages.”

It’s essential to understand the types of damage available to get an idea of what your personal injury case is likely worth. In the state of New York, you have three years to file a claim for property damage as well as for personal injury. That doesn’t mean that your case must be resolved within three years; it only means that you have three years to file the necessary paperwork with the court.

For instance, if you’re a Garden City resident and have sustained injury due to an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you must contact a personal injury lawyer to help with your claim. Here are the types of damages a Garden City, NY, personal injury lawyer can help you receive if you make a claim or file a lawsuit against the negligent party.

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also called “special” damages, compensate for actual financial losses the plaintiff suffered. These damages are the easiest to quantify since they’re tied to direct, measurable losses. Economic damages compensate victims for:

  • Medical expenses incurred as a direct result of the injury
  • Future medical costs if the injuries are catastrophic or if the plaintiff will require care even after the case is resolved
  • Damage to or loss of property as a result of the injury
  • Lost wages for sick days or missed work time
  • Future lost earnings if the victim cannot work or has permanently lost their earning capacity due to the injury they sustained
  • Travel costs to and from doctor visits
  • Costs for assistive devices like a wheelchair or crutches

These damages can be calculated by looking at paychecks, medical bills, and receipts, as well as by working with experts to estimate future lost earnings and care needs.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic or “general” damages compensate victims for losses that lack a direct financial impact but have an impact on the victim’s quality of life. If, for example, the plaintiff can no longer play basketball due to a leg injury, they may be entitled to compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.

Non-economic damages may include:

  • Physical disfigurement or disability
  • Pain and suffering (physical and mental)
  • Mental anguish or emotional distress resulting from the injury and accident
  • Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life (victim is unable to enjoy freedom and activities as they did before the accident)
  • Loss of companionship if the victim cannot interact with loved ones the same way due to injuries

It can be harder to calculate non-economic damages. As such, insurance companies use various methods, such as the multiplier or per diem method. The multiplier method involves multiplying the total number of economic damages by a set value, usually between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the injury. The per diem method awards the plaintiff a certain amount for each day of suffering since the date of the injury.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not designed to reimburse the plaintiff for actual losses. Instead, they’re meant to punish the defendant for acting negligently and harming you. Punitive damages are also meant to discourage the defendant from engaging in similar conduct in the future and to serve as a warning to others in the same industry.

Typically, punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendants were malicious, willful, reckless, fraudulent, or oppressive. Other states allow punitive damages in cases where the defendant acted with disregard for the health and safety of others (grossly negligent).

Examples of cases where punitive damages may be awarded include:

  • A trucking company allows drivers with known alcohol and drug problems to drive their big rig, causing catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.
  • A prescription drug manufacturer was aware of the dangerous side effects of a drug but failed to notify consumers, causing irreversible damage.

Wrongful Death Damages

These damages are available when a person is killed due to someone else’s negligent or intentional act. The deceased’s estate representative or close family members (such as a spouse or children) may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.

Wrongful death damages can include payment for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Pre-death medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering experienced before death
  • Loss of the deceased’s financial contribution and expected income
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress experienced by surviving family members
  • Loss of companionship

Precisely who qualifies as a surviving family member varies from state to state.

Final Thought

If you’ve been injured by another person’s wrongdoing or negligence, hire an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you collect evidence to prove liability and the extent of loss and demand fair compensation.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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