You may be familiar with claiming financial compensation from a personal injury lawsuit, but there are other damages available when you are injured. “Pain and suffering” is another term you’ve likely heard before, perhaps in television courtroom dramas. These are damages a victim can claim when they file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who is at fault for their injuries.
While financial, physical, and emotional damages are well known, there are other damages that you can claim, especially if the injury was severe enough to impact your life going forward. From mobility devices to a loss in quality time with a loved one, there are many damages for which a victim can be compensated. Victims will be able to pursue these damages as long as their attorney is experienced and knowledgeable, just like the attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers.
What are “damages?”
In Kentucky law, “damages” refer to the monetary compensation awarded to a party in a civil lawsuit as a remedy for the harm, loss, or injury they have suffered due to the wrongful actions of another party. Damages are designed to provide financial relief and make the injured party “whole” to the extent possible. They are a fundamental concept in civil litigation and serve as a way to resolve a wide range of legal wrongs. There are several types of damages in the legal context, including:
- Compensatory damages. These are intended to compensate the injured party for their actual losses and expenses resulting from the wrongdoing. Compensatory damages can be further divided into economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages. These cover quantifiable financial losses, such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and future anticipated expenses.
- Non-economic damages. These are less tangible and include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium (companionship and support).
- Punitive damages. Also known as exemplary damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the injured party but are intended to punish the wrongdoer for particularly egregious or malicious conduct, and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. Punitive damages are typically awarded in addition to compensatory damages.
- Nominal damages. In cases where the injured party has suffered harm but cannot demonstrate significant financial losses or non-economic damages, the court may award nominal damages. These are small token amounts, often as a symbolic recognition of a legal right violation.
- Consequential damages. Also known as special or indirect damages, consequential damages are losses that result as a consequence of the defendant’s actions but are not directly caused by the wrongful act. They are awarded when the plaintiff can demonstrate that these damages were foreseeable at the time of the breach or injury.
- Incidental damages. These are expenses incurred by the injured party as a direct result of dealing with the breach or injury, such as legal fees, transportation costs, or other out-of-pocket expenses.
- Statutory damages. Some statutes and laws provide for specific damages as a remedy for particular violations, often with a predetermined amount set by the law.
The specific type and amount of damages awarded in a lawsuit depend on various factors, including the nature of the legal claim, the evidence presented, and state laws (luckily, in Kentucky, there is no limit on the damages you can recover). The primary purpose of damages is to provide a fair and just compensation to the injured party while also serving as a deterrent against wrongful conduct in society.
What are some other types of damages I can claim?
In a personal injury lawsuit, the types of damages that can be recovered typically include compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the injured party for losses incurred due to the injury.
These commonly include:
- Medical expenses. This covers the cost of medical treatment related to the injury, including hospital bills, surgery, doctor’s visits, medications, rehabilitation, and future medical expenses related to the injury.
- Lost income. If the injury results in the inability to work, the injured party can seek compensation for lost wages, both past and future, taking into account the impact on their earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. This encompasses the physical and emotional distress caused by the injury, including pain, discomfort, anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Property damage. In cases involving car accidents or other incidents where property is damaged, the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property can be recovered.
- Loss of consortium. This is a claim typically brought by a spouse of the injured party for the loss of companionship, intimacy, and support due to the injury.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. This covers the loss of the ability to participate in activities or hobbies that the injured party enjoyed before the injury.
- Emotional distress. In some cases, emotional distress damages may be awarded in addition to pain and suffering damages, particularly when the emotional trauma is severe and well-documented.
- Out-of-pocket expenses. This includes any additional costs incurred as a direct result of the injury, such as transportation expenses for medical appointments, home modifications, or assistive devices.
While these are the common types of damages, there are also less common or uncommon types of damages that may be recoverable in specific circumstances. These can include:
- Loss of reputation. In cases where the injury leads to defamation or harm to a person’s reputation, damages for loss of reputation may be sought.
- Diminished value. If an item, such as a vehicle, loses value due to the injury, the diminished value of the property can be claimed as damages.
- Loss of use. When an injury prevents the use of property or assets, such as a rental property or business equipment, damages for the loss of use may be recoverable.
- Loss of chance. In medical malpractice cases, if the injury reduces the plaintiff’s chances of a better medical outcome or recovery, they may seek damages for the loss of that chance.
- Loss of consortium. In some cases, children may seek damages for the loss of their relationship with a parent; spouses may claim such a loss for their loss of marital intimacy, too. These damages typically apply in cases of serious injury or wrongful death.
If an accident has left you suffering physically, emotionally, and financially, the experienced attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers will work to ensure that all damages – present and future – caused by the injury are covered and compensated for. To reach out to us for a free consultation, give us a call or complete our contact form. With offices in both Lexington and Louisville, we proudly extend our services to clients across Kentucky.