If I Have Suffered Injury, What Kind of Damages Can I Expect?
If you have a personal injury claim, the amounts/kinds of damages you can receive depends on the type of injury you have suffered, the seriousness of the injury, what your losses have been (financially, physically or emotionally) and what jurisdiction you live in. The court may also consider additional factors based on your situation. Generally, there are two types of damages you may receive for a personal injury claim, compensatory or punitive.
Compensatory damages are the most common and are available to compensate the victim for losses they may have suffered. The losses are not limited to physical injuries, although physical injuries may be included in compensatory damages. Other losses may include medical costs, loss of earnings (past and future), loss of the ability to work, loss of household services, emotional distress suffered by the injured party, loss of quality of life and other damages specific to the victim. Persons other than the injured party may also bring claims for compensatory damages. Others may bring claims on the victim's behalf, such as family members, a domestic partner or a husband or wife. This may often be the situation in cases where the injured party is deceased, however the claimant (person bringing the claim) may bring a personal injury action on his or her loved one's behalf even if they are still living.
Additionally, punitive damages may be available in some cases for additional damages the victim may have suffered. Punitive damages are not available in all jurisdictions and are determined by the fact finder in the case, the judge or jury. These types of damages do not have to be granted in a personal injury case, but are an extra type of damages intended to punish the defendant (person or persons responsible for the victim's injuries) for their negligence or wrongdoing. The facts of the case, state law, jurisdiction and the fact finder determine whether punitive damages are warranted in a specific case. Therefore, it is important to know the law in your state and court's treatment of punitive damages when considering your litigation expectations.
Who May Bring a Personal Injury Claim?
Usually the claimant is the victim who suffered the injury in a personal injury case. However, this is not always the case. Other persons may also file a personal injury action. First, another individual may bring an action on behalf of the injured party. This may be in cases where the victim may not bring the claim him or herself. This could be in situations where the injured person is incapable or does not have the capacity to bring a lawsuit, such as a child or an adult who does not have legal capacity or in cases where the injured party has died as a result of his or her injuries. If the victim is deceased, that person's family/spouse/partner may also have a claim for wrongful death. Furthermore, if the victim dies after the personal injury claim has been filed; the decedent's estate representative may carry on the claim in his or her place.
Alternatively, loved ones may have their own legal actions stemming from the victim's injury. The claims will differ depending on the situation. However, some examples of claims may include loss of household income/assistance or loss of companionship.