• If you have been the victim of an accident and have been injured, you have a right to be compensated for your losses. There are two main types of personal injury damages: 1) compensatory or actual damages, and 2) punitive damages.
  • Punitive damages are discretionary and are usually awarded to a victim in addition to actual damages when the defendant’s conduct has been especially malicious or egregious. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for his or her reprehensible conduct and to act as a deterrent to prevent the defendant and others from acting the same way.
  • Compensatory or actual damages are intended to cover all the expenses and aliments caused by the personal injury. Your family members may also be entitled to recover if your injuries in certain circumstances. Damage awards can include the following:
  • Medical expenses. This includes bills and expenses for services from doctors, hospitals, ambulance fees, medication, and services from nurses or other health care providers related to your injury.
  • Pain and suffering. This is an award to compensate you for past and future physical pain caused by your accident.
  • Lost wages. This award represents the amount of money you would have earned from the time of the injury to the final judgment or settlement.
  • Impairment of earning capacity. If the injuries from your accident have reduced your ability to earn money in the future, compensation can be awarded for that loss.
  • Future medical expenses. This applies to continued medical care needed as a result of your accident or injury.
  • Mental anguish. This type of damage applies to certain circumstances of mental suffering or emotional distress, including mental suffering from disfigurement, or witnessing the death or catastrophic injury of a loved one.
  • Loss of consortium. These damages apply to the deprivation of the benefits of married life after an accident or injury, including companionship, affection, comfort, or sexual relations between spouses. Usually the spouse of the injured person is the party who makes these claims.
  • Loss of society and companionship. This is a damage that may be awarded in wrongful death cases to immediate family members of the deceased for the loss of love, comfort, and companionship they would have enjoyed if the deceased had lived.
  • Property damage. An award for expenses related to property damaged in an accident, such as a wrecked vehicle.