Types of Compensation for Personal Injuries
What Damages Are Available in a Missouri Personal Injury Claim?
When you begin to calculate damages and compensation for personal injury claims, it’s important to keep in mind that every case is different. The personal injury lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm in St. Louis provide an overview of the kinds of damages you can recover and how the process works.
The first thing you need to know is that there are two methods for getting compensation. These are:
- Filing a claim with an insurance company, and
- Opening a personal injury claim if a settlement wasn’t reached.
As we’ve discussed in other personal injury pages on this site, there are pros and cons for trying to negotiate a settlement with insurers and escalating a claim to court. The end goal is the same: to win compensatory damages for your injury.
What are Special Damages?
“Special Damages” are compensatory damages that relate directly to your injury. Here are the four types of compensation you can receive under special damages:
- Medical Expenses—One of the most obvious forms of compensation relates to your medical expenses. This includes the costs of surgery, hospital bills, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, and other medical bills you accrue due to your accident to pay for your treatment. It is important for injury victims to keep track of these expenses so they can be laid out in a demand letter or in court. Medical expenses also include ongoing or future treatment.
- Lost Income—If you’re a construction worker and in the hospital and unable to work for three months, there are going to be financial consequences. Lost wages should factor in the income you should have received. If not for the injury, then the income you would lose in the future, factor in any promotion-based issues, and tally up the amount of compensation you’re missing out on. Contact a workers’ comp lawyer for more information about calculating lost wages if you’re having trouble (such as being a small business owner or contractor).
- Property Damage—Property damage is a little more straightforward. If, for example, you were in a car accident, property damage can be applied to the costs of repairs or the fair market value of your car. This includes property that was destroyed or damaged, such as jewelry, phones, watches, etc.
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses—You can also add in out-of-pocket expenses. These could be ongoing prescriptions, gas money for driving to an injured spouse’s hospital, childcare, paying for a rental car, and so on. If you’re pursuing a personal injury case, keep track of everything.
If you know that, in the two months since a car crash, you’ve had to spend $8,000 due to that car crash, list it out. If you’ve tracked your expenses well enough, you can even list out how much you’ll have to spend in the future due to that crash.
What Are General Damages?
General damages are another form of compensatory damages factored into personal injury claims. While vaguer, they are important and add to the total you should send in your demand letter to the insurance company or present in court.
- Pain and suffering is calculated based on physical and mental harm you suffered due to your injury and is awarded as financial compensation. Pain and suffering encompasses non-monetary damages and covers feelings like agony, heartbreak, and trauma caused by an accident. If a child was hit by a reckless driver while sitting right beside their parent, for insurance, that parent should include pain and suffering in the claim.
- Psychological and emotional distress is another major factor. Anxiety, fear, flashbacks, depression, PTSD, and other side-effects of an incident are deemed emotional distress.
- Loss of enjoyment and loss of consortium are similar types of damages but have key differences. In the case of “ loss of enjoyment,” a victim may rightfully seek compensation if the accident and injuries drastically changed their life—for example, they are no longer able to partake in a hobby or sport they like. Loss of consortium refers to the loss of physical or sexual intimacy. An example would be losing a spouse you were in good standing with and died, for example, which allows you to claim higher compensation. If an injury caused a relationship to fail, or leads to a sexual disability, that is also important to put in a claim. States differ on how they compensate for consortium and enjoyment.
If you have any additional questions about the types of damages you can claim, contact the St. Louis injury lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm today for a free consultation and more information.