A fight to regain financial compensation for an injury may find you in court. Presenting the judge with evidence that the defendant’s negligence caused your injury may find you awarded with damages. In personal injury cases, there are two main categories of damages: compensatory and punitive. Find out more about what these awards may mean for your bank account, and what the likelihood is of receiving something.
Special Compensatory Damages
Within the compensatory damages category, there are two subcategories that a judge may choose to give you. The first — special compensatory damages — is the most commonly awarded. These are calculated using receipts and evidence of money you lost out on because of the injury. Your personal injury lawyer will gather all of your receipts for the medical treatment you endured. Next, you will provide any lost wage information by way of pay stubs or generalized statements from your employer. You may also provide a calculation of future wages you will miss out on because of the injury. The court will typically grant you reimbursement of this money.
General Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages are meant to pay you for the damage you endured as a result of the defendant’s actions. Once a judge awards you special compensatory damages, you may also be eligible to receive general damages. These are much trickier to figure out and rely upon as they are subjective. General compensatory damages provide you with financial payback for things such as pain, suffering and emotional distress the injury has caused you. Your spouse may also file for general compensatory damages under a loss of consortium. This means that your marriage was significantly impacted by the defendant’s negligence and the injury that resulted.
When an accident was extraordinarily negligent and the injury particular horrendous, a judge may consider awarding you punitive damages. These are not something that you request, but instead, the court decides that you deserve them. Punitive damages are the only way a personal injury court may hand down a punishment to the defendant. These are typically very high financial awards and in some cases, the defendant is unable to pay them. However, there are ways that you can try to collect punitive damages if the judge awards them.
In the pursuit to get back some of what an injury took from you, a judge may award you financial compensation. Understanding how your state deals with personal injury suits is imperative to getting prepared to face off in court. Contact a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer in St. Paul, MN from Johnston Martineau, PLLP, today to learn more.