What Are General Damages In A Personal Injury Or Wrongful Death Case?
There are two categories of damages in personal injury cases: economic damages and non-economic damages. General damages would fall into the category of non-economic damages. Economic damages are sort of verifiable hard-and-fast numbers such as the amount of money it would take to repair your vehicle and the medical bills that you incur if you miss time from work, or the wages that you lost. Non-economic damages are much harder to quantify, and the jury determines the amount. General damages are much broader in scope and less defined. For example, it covers pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, injury-related anxiety, and mental anguish. In wrongful death cases, the jury would look at the loss of love, place in society, and companionship. Experts provide testimony that gives guidance to the jury as to how to come up with a number for the non-economic damages.
Wrongful death cases can be a little different. You may recover damages for loss of love, place in society, and companionship. Usually, one cannot recover pain and suffering in a wrongful death action, as a non-economic damage. If there is a survivor action, you can recover pain and suffering. If there is a period of time between when the injury occurred and the death that resulted from the injury, you can maintain a survivor action for the decedent toward the deceased party.
For that time period between the injury and the death of that individual, the survival period, you can recover pain and suffering as a non-economic damage. However, a wrongful death cause of action prohibits recovery for pain and suffering as a non-economic damage. Non-economic damages are called the grey damages, or the fuzzy ones that the jury has to decide what would be fair.
Does Every Personal Injury Or Wrongful Death Case Ensure The Injured Party Receives Financial Compensation For Each Type Of Damage?
There is no guarantee of recovery in any personal injury or wrongful death case. While there are cases where it is much more likely and unlikely, you can never guarantee a recovery. You must overcome multiple evidentiary hurdles to recover for the damages in a case. The first evidentiary hurdle is proving that there was a negligent act. In other words, somebody fell below the standard of care, whether or not somebody needlessly endangered somebody else. After that, you must prove that the negligent act was the cause of the injury. Then you must prove what the injury or damage is.
For instance, in a car accident, one individual rear-ends another car. It might be evident that they were negligent because they needlessly endangered someone by not paying attention to the road and rear-ending the other car.
You must have evidence that the forces involved were significant enough to cause injury to the person. Proof from the doctor is required to show that injuries and treatment are legitimate. The treatment and diagnosis from the doctor will become the basis for the pain and suffering damages. Additionally, there will be medical bills for the treatment, and they can become the basis for the economic damages. The victim might also claim to lose earning capacity that would require another expert’s testimony.
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