What are the Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

If you or a loved one sustain an injury caused by the actions of another individual, entity, or company, you should be able to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. However, there are various types of damages that can be awarded in personal injury cases, including economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Here, we want to define each of these damages that are available for personal injury claims as well as the importance of working with a skilled personal injury lawyer to help ensure that you receive full compensation for your losses.

Compensatory Damages in a Washington Personal Injury Case

Most damages awarded in personal injury cases are classified as compensatory. In other words, they are intended to compensate the injury victim for injuries and losses they sustain due to the incident. Compensatory damages are broken down into two categories – economic damages and non-economic damages.

  • Economic damages. These are also referred to as “special damages” and deal with expenses that are relatively easy to calculate after an accident occurs. Calculating these damages is done by gathering all medical bills, receipts, and proof of other out-of-pocket expenses. Some of the most common economic damages that injury victims receive include the following:
    • Medical bills
    • Lost income
    • Out-of-pocket expenses
    • Property damage costs
  • Non-economic damages. These are also referred to as “general damages” and are typically going to be more difficult to calculate than the economic damages mentioned above. That is because these damages do not come with direct bills and receipts that can be added up to reach a total. You often hear of these damages referred to as “pain and suffering” damages that are more abstract to define. This can include:
    • Emotional and psychological trauma
    • Physical pain and suffering
    • Loss of quality of life
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Scarring and disfigurement
    • Loss of consortium for a spouse

In general, economic damages will be added up by gathering bills and receipts. Non-economic damages are often calculated using the total amount of economic damages in then multiplying that buy a set number (usually 1.5 to 5). This is called the “multiplier method.”

Punitive Damages in a Washington Personal Injury Case

Punitive damages may be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit, but they are certainly not awarded in all cases. Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant if their conduct is deemed egregious, intentional, or somehow outside of societal norms. Not only do punitive damages punish the defendant, but they also send a signal to others in society that the type of behavior displayed in the case is not acceptable and will be dealt with harsh penalties.

Work with an Injury attorney for Help with Your Case

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the actions of somebody else, it is crucial that you work with a skilled Washington personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A personal injury attorney in Seattle can use their legal expertise and resources to conduct an extensive investigation into the incident. This will include working with skilled economic and medical experts to help properly calculate all losses. Additionally, an attorney will negotiate with every party involved in order to ensure that a personal injury victim receives fair treatment and adequate compensation.