January 24, 2020
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit after someone else caused a recent injury, a very natural question is “How much is my case worth?” However, this is not really the right way to think about things. The purpose of personal injury lawsuits is to compensate a victim for losses. This means your case is worth exactly how much you lost. Of course, things are a little more complicated than that. The first step in understanding how much your case is worth is understanding the different types of damages.
Special Compensatory Damages
The first type of damages is special compensatory damages. These damages correspond to financial losses. If you can place an exact monetary value on a loss, then it will fall into this category. Examples of this include:
- Medical bills
- Damage to property
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning ability
- Purchase of medicine
- Purchase of medical equipment
For all of these losses, their monetary value is objective. Before you step foot into the court room, you could look at receipt or bill or wage log and know exactly how much money you lost.
General Compensatory Damages
The second type of damages is general compensatory damages. These damages correspond to non-financial losses. If you suffered in some way, but it is impossible to objectively place a monetary value on your suffering, then it will fall into this category. Examples of this include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of mobility
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
As you can probably tell, the monetary value of all of these is subjective. The only way you could determine it is by making an estimation. When general compensatory damages are accepted in a court case, the judge will be the one to decide how much they are worth.
The third type of damages is completely different from the other two. Punitive damages are not a form of compensation. Instead, they are assigned as punishment for the defendant. The judge will be the one to decide if punitive damages are appropriate, as well as how much potential punitive damages should be.
So, now that you know about the types of damages, you can estimate what your case is worth. It will be the sum of special and general compensatory damages. Punitive damages are rare in personal injury cases, so you should not expect to receive any. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Washington, DC can help you estimate these values more with more precision.
Thanks to Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and what your case may be worth.