When you are injured due to the negligent or malicious actions of another, you may press charges. This type of a suit is typically known as a personal injury case and how these cases are handled and processed is governed by personal injury laws. One of the key terms to understand when wading into personal injury law is damage.
While the term damage can be used to describe injuries, setbacks, humiliations, and the loss of wages that you may suffer after an injury, in legal terms, damages refers to the amount of money you expect from the party that injured you based on the suffering you have endured.
Types of Damages
Knowing how much money you should ask for and/or expect from a suit depends on knowing what counts as damage. The following list should help paint a picture of the type of damages you can ask for:
- Special Damages—This term refers to monetary costs that came as a direct result of your injuries. Theses costs should include medical bills, prescriptions, therapy, ambulance charges, the loss of wages, etc.
- General Damages—There is a second class of costs that are harder to quantify. For example, how can you set a monetary amount to the pain, embarrassment, frustration, and other suffering that may stem from an accident. You may also have to endure the long-term effects of an injury that limits your abilities. Such costs would fall under the heading of general damages.
- Exemplary Damages—In some cases, your injuries may have stemmed from negligence or from a freak accident. In other cases, the person who injured you may have acted with malicious intent. In these cases, a lawyer may urge you to press from exemplary damages. Such damages will have a punitive bearing and will serve to set an example for others who may be considering the possibility of acting in the same as way as the party who hurt you.
While your intent going into a personal injury case should not be to take the person who injured you for all the money that they have, you should also not be left on your own to handle the damaging effects of someone else's actions. A good personal injury lawyer like Vaughan & Vaughan should be able to guide you through the process of bringing a personal injury case, including helping you to determine what sort of damages you should ask for.