Annually, millions of people suffered injuries or are injured in personal injury accidents. Such accidents include car accidents, medical malpractice cases, dog bite cases, and product liability cases. When negligence is the cause of another person’s injury or death, the victim or their family may receive compensation for the damages sustained by the victim. This article will discuss some damages that are available in personal injury claims.
It is important to note that before a victim becomes entitled to any damages, they have the burden of establishing that the person who caused the injuries is legally liable for such damages. The majority of personal injury cases are based on the legal theory of negligence. According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, negligence is defined as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act”. For a victim to receive damages, he or she has the burden of proof to establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care. For example, in a car accident, the duty of care would refer to the defendant owing to the plaintiff a duty to act as a reasonably safe driver.
The duty of care is only one of four elements that need to be proven by the plaintiff. The other elements that must be proved include a breach in the duty of care, injury sustained and a direct link between the breach of care and the injuries suffered.
When the victim has established these elements, they may be entitled to financial recovery or compensation for damages. Some of the damages that may be recovered in a personal injury case include the following:
- Property damage - In accidents that involve property loss as a result of negligence, the victim may be entitled to receive compensation for such property damage.
- Medical expenses - Compensation may be awarded for various medical expenses such as emergency room visits, doctor’s visits, physical therapy and prescription costs. Compensation may include previous treatment received and any future treatments that are reasonably anticipated.
- Emotional distress - Compensation may be provided to cover for emotional distress suffered by the victim. This may include psychological treatment sort by the victim.
- Lost wages - Compensation may be awarded for instances where the victim missed work due torecovering from an injury or receiving treatment. Lost wages compensation cover vacation time taken to receive treatment or to recover.
- Other damages - Such damages may be available in specific circumstances of a case. They may include compensation for loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of companionship.
The victim has the job of establishing the type and amount of damages that are to be received. For damages that have written proof through documentation, such records must be retained and provided to the plaintiff's personal injury accident lawyer.