What are the different types of damages that are awarded in a personal injury lawsuit?
A car accident can result in injuries that range from minor to debilitating. If you have sustained injuries as a result of an automobile accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for causing the accident. If your lawsuit is successful, the judge will award you compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the accident. The at-fault driver or the driver’s insurance company is supposed to pay this compensation amount. If the at-fault driver was found to be excessively careless and negligent on the road, the judge may give an award for punitive damages.
These are payments for the economic losses incurred in the past and are likely to be incurred in the future. These include medical expenses already incurred and likely future expenses due to the medical condition caused by the accident. The loss of wages due to absence from work during the recovery period is also covered. Pain, suffering, and mental anguish caused by the accident are included. A jury generally decides the amount of compensation to be awarded to the plaintiff; however, some states have a restriction on the amount that can be awarded.
Certain states follow the law of comparative fault. The judge or jury will examine the case and determine your percentage of fault in causing the accident. If you contributed to the accident by your negligence, your recovery amount will be reduced by that percentage. Comparative negligence is a term used in the law which means that your own negligence also played a part in causing the accident as well as your injuries. In certain states you will be granted compensation only if your comparative negligence is less than 50 percent.
Punitive or Exemplary Damages
You may be awarded compensation apart from the actual expenses incurred on medical treatment of injuries and pain and suffering. These are punitive or exemplary damages and they are awarded with a motive to further punish the defendant for a lack of proper care while driving and also to deter the same carelessness and negligence again. Conduct of the defendant which goes beyond basic negligence, such as malicious, vindictive, willful, or reckless conduct is considered while awarding this compensation.
There are various factors which give the courts a reason to award punitive damages. The main factors are driver incompetence, driving at speeds much higher than the speed limit, violation of traffic laws and safety regulations, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or knowledge of an existing defect in the vehicle which could have caused the accident.
St. Louis Injury Lawyer
To get the maximum possible compensation for your injuries speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney from The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. Call us today at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.