Personal injury damages that can be awarded
When an individual is involved in an accident and the underlying cause was negligence, the person is allowed to sue for damages. The injured party will have hired an injury law firm in Elizabeth NJ to represent his interests in pursuing the claim. In many cases the award is negotiated in an out of court settlement, but if it goes to court and the litigant prevails in the action, the injured party will be awarded damages.
The damages are awarded on a case-by-case basis and it is a jury that recommends the award based on the evidence presented by the injury law firm in Elizabeth NJ on behalf of his client. If the court feels the award is too high or too low it has the right to increase or decrease without the need for an appeal or another trial.
The award that is granted is made up of two different types of damages; compensatory and punitive.
These are damages awarded that basically put the injured party back to where he would be had the injury never happened in the first place. These damages attempt to restore the victim financially, bodily and psychologically. Compensatory damages are further broken down into special damages which is compensation for financial loss and general damages which is compensation for non-monetary loss.
Monetary losses include:
1. Medical costs: These are calculated as the costs of medical care from the time of the accident and into the future, including rehabilitation. Future costs are based on the victims needs for the rest of his expected life.
2. Living with a disability: if the accident causes the victim to radically alter his life style, there will be compensatory damages awarded. If, for example, the victim will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, the award may cover the cost of renovating his home to accommodate such.
3. Lost wages: The award will cover wages lost since the accident and lost earning potential as a result of the accident and injury.
4. Repair or replacement of property: This may be repair or replacement of the victim’s vehicle if the accident involved an automobile.
5. Funeral expenses: The family can recover all costs associated with a funeral should the victim have died as a result of the accident.
Non-monetary losses include:
1. Pain and suffering: The award usually includes a sum to compensate for actually physical pain and emotional upset. Emotional upset is seen to include fear, frustration and loss of lifestyle.
2. Loss of consortium: The spouse of the victim can be awarded compensation if the injury results in the loss of affection, sexual relations, assistance, etc.
The injury law firm in Elizabeth NJ will push for punitive damages, which do not compensate the victim; they penalize the defendant as a way of encouraging others not to repeat the same act. Not every case includes punitive damages; it has a lot to do with the defendants conduct.