Personal Injury Damages 101: What You Need to Know

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The last thing anybody needs is to be involved in an accident when going about their daily business. The only thing that can make this experience more frustrating is when the accident was caused by events out of your control, such as a person making a poor decision. Regardless of the finer details of your accident, it’s entirely possible that the situation may justify filing a personal injury lawsuit. Learn everything there is to know about personal injury so that you can determine whether filing a lawsuit is right for you. 

What is Personal Injury? 

For those who may have never heard the term before, personal injury is a subset of tort law and deals with redressing wrongdoing that has been performed against one person by another party. There are a variety of different types of personal injury that make it applicable to a number of different situations. With that said, however, the most common examples include:

  • Slip-and-fall accidents in a public place
  • Vehicle-on-vehicle or vehicle-on-pedestrian collisions
  • Product defectiveness cases
  • Off-leash animal attacks against strangers
  • Medical malpractice lawsuits 

The 4 Elements of Personal Injury

Proving personal injury in a court of law is easier said than done, but there are four main aspects of personal injury that must be shown. These four items, in order, include: 

1. Duty of Care

First and foremost, it must be shown that a defendant had a duty of care to keep the plaintiff out of harm’s way. This simply means that they had a legal obligation to act in such a manner that any reasonable person in the same situation would have also reacted in the same way. 

2. Breach of Duty of Care

After showing that the defendant owed a plaintiff a duty of care, it must then be shown that the Defendant violated the duty of care. A breach of duty of care could be anything from checking a phone while driving on the road to not laying down a “Wet Floor” sign after mopping up in a public location. 

3. Proximate Causation

Third, it must be shown that proximate causation existed in the situation in question. This simply means that the breach of duty on behalf of the defendant directly led to the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. 

4. Damages

Finally, after all of the above has been proven, it must be shown to the court that the damages the plaintiff is filing for are justifiable based on the injuries they have received due to their accident. 

Understanding the Basics of Damages

Building off of the prior point, a person will need to determine which types of damages they wish to file for based on the injuries they have. In general, there are two different types of damages for a person to consider filing for:

What Are General Damages?

General damages refer to those injuries which are non-economic in nature on non-tangible. For example, pain and suffering-related injuries would fall under the realm of general damages. These types of injuries relate to things such as PTSD, humiliation, grief, emotional distress, or other similar situations. 

What Are Special Damages? 

On the other side of things, special damages refer to those injuries which are economic in nature and tangible. Rather than those outlined above, special damages would refer to medical expenses, ongoing therapy costs, ambulance trips, or any other similar type of expense. Naturally, the majority of people will file for special damages in their case considering that these will relate most to the type of injuries they likely suffered. 

How Much Can You Win from a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The amount of money a person can walk away from a personal injury lawsuit can vary drastically depending on the situation, but the most common amount tends to be somewhere around $30,000. While this may not seem like a lot after lawyer fees and other legal costs, the amount you can walk away with has the potential to be far more depending on the specific type of personal injury a person went through. 

The Bottom Line

Nobody should be in the position where they are traveling down the road minding their own business only to be involved in an accident the next. Regardless of whether or not your personal injury case is related to a vehicle accident, slip-and-fall accident, animal attack, or some other cause, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer who can help you determine if filing a lawsuit is the right choice. 

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