After a personal injury lawsuit is filed, insurance companies and attorneys for both parties (or a judge and jury in a court case) agree on a settlement amount to compensate the injured party.
A settlement amount includes compensatory damages, a dollar amount intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for what was lost due to the accident or injury. In some cases punitive damages are awarded to punish the offending party for outrageously careless behavior causing an injury.
Compensatory damages in a personal injury claim may include:
- Medical treatment: reimbursement for treatment already received and compensation for the estimated cost of medical care needed in the future because of an accident
- Income: past, present and future income lost as a result of an accident
- Property loss: reimbursement for repairs or compensation for the fair market value of property that was lost
- Pain and suffering: pain and discomfort following an injury and ongoing
- Emotional distress: psychological impact of an injury
- Loss of enjoyment: inability to enjoy day to day activities
- Loss of consortium: impact that injuries have on a plaintiff’s relationship with spouse and other family members
Can a Plaintiff’s Actions Effect Damage Awards?
Your damage award may be decreased, or in some cases eliminated, if you are in any way at fault for the accident that caused your injury. If you fail to take action to reduce the financial impact of an injury, for example neglect to seek medical care, your damage award may be reduced.