Personal Injury and Compensatory Damages

Personal Injury and Compensatory Damages

Whenever someone suffers injury as a result of use of a product, an automobile accident, medical mishap or neglect on the part of a property owner, the possibility exists that they may be eligible for damages from a personal injury claim. Damages may be compensatory or punitive. This blog post will discuss the various types of compensatory damages awarded in personal injury cases.

Estimating damages at the outset helps to document the crux of your demand. Failing to document all of your losses at the beginning (financial or otherwise) could hurt your chances of winning the full amount of damages to which you are entitled. Damages are monies paid to make the plaintiff in a lawsuit whole (compensatory) for losses or punish the defendant (punitive) for wrongdoing.

Compensatory Damages: As the name implies, compensatory damages (or actual damages) are meant to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries (so as to make the plaintiff whole or restore them to the condition they were in before the accident or injuries). There are two types of compensatory damages: economic and non-monetary. Economic losses are those that are easily quantifiable and include medical expenses, loss of wages/profits, property loss or repair and cost of disability (e.g., monetary value of changes to one's lifestyle resulting from disability). 

Non-monetary Losses: Non-monetary damages seek to compensate the plaintiff for those direct effects of an injury or injuries that are not as easy to quantify. For instance, there is no real way a court can make an injured individual whole from something like pain and suffering. While it is not always possible to make the plaintiff whole in every case, compensatory damages are meant to provide the plaintiff a dollar value equivalent to the value of the loss identified. This is, of course, a subjective evaluation, but the only way courts can address non-monetary losses in civil cases.

Two of the most common non-monetary losses in personal injury cases are ‘pain and suffering' and ‘disability'. Pain and suffering is, is essence, exactly as it sounds.  It comprises the physical pain, discomfort, and sometimes emotional distress and/or depression suffered from any number of conditions resulting from an injury due to an accident.  Disability or “loss of a normal life” is defined as the ‘temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy life. This includes a person's inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life'. Though a monetary amount can't possibly adequately equate to these losses, amounts awarded in similar cases can often be a guide to both attorneys and courts as to the size of awards appropriate to address intangible loss in these cases.

Loss of consortium (sometimes referred to as “loss of society”) is another form of compensable damages.  It is comprised of loss of sexual relations, or companionship or even affection or emotional support. In the case of loss of consortium, a spouse can even have a valid claim for damages.

If you have questions about possible damages in a personal injury case, please contact the experienced accident attorneys of Panio Law Offices in Chicago. An experienced personal injury lawyer is able to identify the full array of damages to which you may be eligible in your case. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive personalized service and the highest awards to which they may be eligible. Call us at (312) 313-0305 to speak with one of our attorneys. We can help.

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