Personal injury claims are common in America due to the high number of individuals injured annually. Although most cases never reach the courtroom, it is estimated that up to 500,000 personal injury cases exist in America every year. It is easy to assume that personal injury is not a concern, but you and your loved ones are always one slip and fall, workplace accident, or auto accident away from a personal injury claim. Consequently, it is prudent to know the various compensation types available in such cases. Below are three types of personal injury compensation you should know about.
- Wrongful death damages
Wrongful death damages are typically a blend of general and special compensatory damages and only apply to wrongful death cases. You can collect wrongful death damages if you are a surviving family member of the victim. Medical malpractice is one of the most common scenarios requiring wrongful death compensation. Research estimates that about 98,000 Americans die per year due to preventable medical errors, so you will qualify for compensation if a good lawyer can prove that your loved one perished due to malpractice. Similarly, you may qualify for wrongful death damages if your loved one was hit by a negligent driver or suffered a work-related accident that resulted in death. Wrongful death damages are given to cover funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship and financial contribution, cost of medical care before death, and other related expenses.
- General compensatory damages
General compensatory damages are given to compensate you for your injury’s non-economic consequences. These damages differ from victims of crime compensation and other special compensatory damages that directly help you with the financial costs of crime and injuries. It is typically difficult to prove general damages because they are non-quantifiable costs, but good record-keeping can help. This type of damage can compensate you for the pain and suffering you undergo due to your injury. Additionally, you can receive compensation for the lower quality of life suffered due to the injury, like losing a limb. You can even receive money for loss of enjoyment of life if your lawyer can prove that your injuries prevent you from partaking in activities that previously brought you joy. Finally, you can claim loss of consortium damages if you are a personal injury victim’s spouse. Loss of consortium compensates you if your spouse can no longer offer the same level of companionship they provided before their injury.
- Punitive damages
Punitive damages aren’t intended to directly compensate you for your losses, but you receive them nonetheless. These damages are only meant to punish the guilty party. A court typically awards them only when it believes that compensatory damages will not sufficiently deter the guilty party from repeating their mistakes. Your chances of receiving punitive damages improve if the institution or person acted with maliciousness or gross negligence. In addition, you may get punitive damages if the responsible party committed acts like fraud or caused a significant financial loss in some way. Furthermore, you may also obtain punitive damages in high-profile cases involving wealthy people or organizations. In these cases, courts usually award punitive damages to make an example out of such defendants.