When discussing damages in a personal injury claim, you will typically have three categories: (1) economic, (2) non-economic and (3) punishments. Accidents can run the gamut, and many personal injury claims will seek restitution for more than one type of damage or injury. Therefore, to better understand your options when seeking restitution, it is necessary to understand your injuries and whether your injuries reach the threshold for compensation. When filing your claim, you will likely apply for special, general and/or punitive damages, which each fall into the categories mentioned above.
Special damages are typically classified as economic damages, and they fall under the broader heading of compensatory injuries. These losses will often be easily proven through receipts, invoices and billings. Generally, hospital or medical expenses, as well as lost wages, will be filed under the special damages heading. While greater detail and evidence may be needed to prove these damages, invoices generally suffice.
General damages also fall under the broader compensatory damages heading, but these injuries are harder to prove. A commonly cited injury is pain and suffering, but as this is a psychological injury, you will typically require expert testimony to corroborate. Another common injury cited under general damages is loss of consortium of social standing. Again, expert testimony will likely be needed, especially from professionals who can speak on your relationships. While general injuries are hard to prove, they are typically added to claims, especially for severe traumas.
Punitive damages are punishment, and they are sought in instances of criminal intent or neglect. However, it is not easy to receive rewards under this category because you have to prove knowledge and intent. While the requirements of proof are not as strict as in a criminal trial, the barrier is still challenging for most personal injury claims, especially where an accident is involved. Although, it may be easier to prove intent when the incident is an assault, especially one that resulted in an arrest.
Damages allow accident and personal injury victims to seek restitution for their injuries, but it is necessary to understand the different levels of damages to give yourself the best chance at making a successful claim. Do not let anger be the driving force behind your decision. Gather all the available information about your injury and claim, and contact a personal injury lawyer. These professionals will be able to help you determine the best path forward, and they may even be able to explain if your case holds water.