Personal injury is an injury to the body or mental state rather than to one’s property. Be it negligence, deliberate action or misconduct, if physical or psychological damage is caused, one may file a personal injury claim. Some examples of frequent personal injuries cases include; motor vehicle accidents, incidents within the workplace, and medical malpractice.
Although all cases differ, in the majority of personal injury cases the injured plaintiff may be entitled to monetary compensation in court or an administrative proceeding. Workplace injures differ from other personal injury claims in that an employer can only face liability in the administrative forum called workers compensation, not in court before a judge and jury. Compensation awarded is intended to return the injured party to the state before the incident to the extent possible. Damages are categorized in two ways; special damages and general damages. Special damages are quantifiable damages that result from the accident. For instance, in most cases that require medical attention as a direct result of the incident the injured plaintiff may be awarded monetary compensation for past, present, and future treatments. Additionally any items, ranging from motor vehicles to personal property, that have been damaged in the incident, are eligible for monetary compensation in order to restore the lost or damaged items. Lastly if either the injured plaintiff has been or is currently hindered from receiving income, the plaintiff may be entitled to receive compensation for lost work. While special damages are monetarily calculable, general damages are not as quantifiable. General damages include intangible suffering such as hardship, emotional distress and loss of amenity as a result of the accident. In most cases involving general damages, the injured plaintiff is entitled to monetary compensation in an amount determined by a jury to compensate for emotional distress.
However in some cases the actions of the injured plaintiff may affect the extent to which damages may be collected. For instance if the plaintiff has any fault in the incident or fails to mitigate the financial and physical damages resulting from the incident, damages may be cut or not given at all. Lastly, all states have statutes of limitation. If the claim is not filed within the applicable time limit the injured person’s right to file a personal injury claim will be lost.
If you wish to learn more about the damages you can receive in a personal injury case, speak to an experienced attorney to help you understand your rights.