In a personal injury case, you may find yourself overwhelmed or exasperated by the unfamiliar terms within the countless legal and medical documents presented to you. One area that is particularly confusing for many personal injury law clients is the compensation that they are entitled to after they have been injured by the negligent conduct of another. Examples of these types of compensable personal injuries include those resulting from automobile accidents, truck wrecks, motorcycle crashes, and slip & falls, to name a few. While there is no substitute for discussing your case with an experienced personal injury attorney at Fisher & Associate P.C., the following provides a rough primer on “how much your case is worth.”
The compensation that a personal injury victim is legally entitled to are referred to as “damages”. Special damages in a personal injury case are broken down into three main categories. These are economic damages, non-economic damages and permanent impairment and disfigurement. In certain cases, punitive damages and/or loss of consortium damages may also be available.
Economic damages are generally the easiest to calculate. These are typically quantifiable, in the sense that they can be calculated. These damages include past and future medical expenses, prescription drug costs, lost wages and diminished earning capacity. Economic damages are usually established through medical bills and invoices, as well as expert testimony.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify. They are commonly referred to as human losses, and are often the most serious injuries in a case. Non-economic damages include the pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental stress and anguish, inconvenience, and loss of sleep that are directly caused by the negligence of another. Non-economic damages are usually established through the testimony of those who are close to a personal injury victim. Non-economic damages are capped by statute in the state of Colorado. This means that a jury could award a personal injury victim an amount that fairly compensates them for their non-economic losses and a judge would then reduce that award to the statutory cap.
Permanent impairment and disfigurement are damages to compensate a personal injury victim when they have suffered permanent impairment or disfigurement. Examples of these impairments include permanent loss of range of motion, pain that lasts multiple years, metal hardware and screws in the body, cognitive impairment, loss of vision or hearing, etc. Disfigurement generally refers to scarring, but can overlap with permanent impairment where, for example, limbs have been lost. These types of damages depend heavily on the facts of the case and the severity of the injury.
Punitive damages may also be awarded in cases where the person causing the harm has acted in a willful or malicious way. These damages are intended to punish the defendant for their conduct and deter others in society from behaving the same way in the future. Punitive damages are not available in every case.
Loss of consortium damages are damages that are available for the loss of familial benefits suffered by the spouse or family member of a person who has been injured or killed as a result of a defendant’s negligent, intentional, or otherwise wrongful acts.
At Fisher & Associates, we understand that the terms and nuances of a personal injury case are complex. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will be with you every step of the way, ensuring that you fully understand your case, and receive the compensation you deserve.