Types of Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits | Scott Goodwin Law

Types of Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

by / Friday, 05 April 2024 / Published in Personal Injury
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Being injured in an accident of any kind can impact a person’s life in many different ways. Not only do they have their initial medical expenses to deal with, they might need long-term care and rehabilitation. They could also need to take time off from work during recovery, need to hire somebody to help them out with household chores, or deal with property damage. In severe cases, there may be funeral and burial expenses involved. There may also be the psychological effects that come with things like pain and suffering and reduced enjoyment of life. 

All of these effects are called damages and in personal injury cases, damages fall into two main categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are a type of damages that are meant to help make the patient whole again by getting them as close as possible to the position they were in before the accident occurred. Compensatory damages can be broken down further into two more categories: economic and non-economic damages. On the other hand, punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party in cases of extreme negligence and discourage others from acting in similar ways.

Economic/Special Damages

Economic damages, also known as special damages, are the types of damages an accident victim incurs that have a specific dollar value attached to them. Medical bills are one very common example, but can also include: 

  • Lost income 
  • In-home medical care
  • Paying someone to help with household chores
  • Modifying a home or vehicle to accommodate a wheelchair
  • Rehabilitation 
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Repairing or replacing property damaged in the accident

In cases where an accident results in death, economic/special damages can also include things like funeral expenses, medical expenses incurred prior to death, and the loss of income the accident victim could have earned. 

Non-Economic/General Damages

Non-economic damages are also known as general damages which are significant, but aren’t as quantifiable in the same way that economic/special damages are. Common examples of non-economic/general damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Not being able to enjoy activities and hobbies the way they could before the accident
  • The emotional impact of disfigurement or losing a limb
  • Loss of companionship if the accident resulted in death

Punitive Damages

In some cases, an injury is caused by someone acting in such an intentionally negligent and extremely reckless manner that the victim could be entitled to additional damages beyond economic/special and non-economic/general damages. While these are often called punitive damages, Michigan allows for exemplary damages instead of punitive damages. Not all personal injury cases are eligible for exemplary damages and a lawyer will be able to help you figure out if these are damages you could potentially collect. 

Contact a Michigan Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in an accident, a personal injury lawyer will be able to help you get all of the damages you’re entitled to. At Scott Goodwin Law, we have experience handling a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, dog bites, medical malpractice, birth trauma, and workplace injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help you.