If you have been injured in an accident that occurred due to the negligent act of another, the law gives you the right to seek compensation for the losses resulting from your injuries. These losses are known as “damages.” Depending on the circumstances in your case, you may be able to collect compensation for a wide variety of damages.
In a personal injury claim, damages are broken down into three categories:
- Compensatory/economic damages
- Non-economic damages
- Exemplary / Punitive damages
Compensatory damages compensate plaintiffs for the economic losses resulting from their injuries. These are losses that you can assign an actual dollar amount to. The goal in awarding compensatory damages is to make the injured person “whole” again – to restore their lives back to way it was before the injury took place. Compensatory/economic damages include:
- Loss of earnings: Compensation for wages lost because you were/are unable to work due to your injuries.
- Loss of future earnings: Compensation for the wages you will lose because you are unable to return to work.
- Medical bills: Compensation to pay for your medical expenses.
- Cost of future medical care: Compensation to pay for ongoing medical expenses (treatments. medications, medical devices, therapy, etc.) required due to your injuries.
- Household expenses: Compensation for rent, mortgage, utilities, etc.
- Other economic losses caused by your injury: Cancelled trips, transportation costs, your spouse’s lost wages for the work they missed taking care of you while you were injured, etc.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate a person for the intangible losses suffered because of their injuries. For example, your injuries may leave you unable to perform the activities you used to engage in, such as playing with your children, driving, sports, outdoor activities, etc. Unlike compensatory damages, they can be difficult to calculate in terms of a precise monetary amount.
Many variables can factor into the amount of non-economic damages you can be awarded, including the seriousness of your injuries, the skills of the lawyer representing you, and the sympathies of a jury. As a result, the amount of non-economic damages awarded varies from case to case.
Non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium – damages awarded when a spouse’s injuries prevent them from having normal marital relations
- Disfigurement and impairment
- Loss of companionship/affection/society – damages awarded when a person can no longer maintain a normal relationship with friends or family due to their injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life – damages awarded when a person’s injuries prevent them from engaging in once-loved activities or otherwise enjoying life
Exemplary, or punitive, damages are awarded with the intent of punishing the negligent party for the intentional infliction of harm, or for recklessness which is the result of an intentional act, that resulted in an injury. Exemplary/punitive damages are rarely awarded in a Lakeland personal injury claim.
The Importance of Superior Legal Representation for Your Lakeland Personal Injury Claim
How much you recover in damages will depend on the quality of legal representation you have. Lakeland personal injury attorney Tania Rivas and the staff of the Rivas Law Group possess the knowledge and expertise to gather the evidence needed to establish proof of your personal injury claim, effectively negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company, and if necessary, take your case to trial. Tania is dedicated to getting her clients every dollar they deserve for the damages caused by the negligent act of another.
If you have been hurt in an accident that was somebody else’s fault, call the Rivas Law Group to schedule a free consultation meeting with one of our experienced Central Florida personal injury lawyers. In addition to our Lakeland office, we have two other locations: you can also speak with experienced personal injury attorneys in Lutz and personal injury attorneys in Winter Haven.
We want to listen to your story and provide helpful, professional feedback on the best way to pursue your case. We accept personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means there are no up- front costs to our clients and you only pay for our services if and when we win your case.