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Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages or actual damages as they are sometimes called, are awarded to compensate a person for an injury as the result of wrongful doing or unlawful conduct in some manner. A claimant can also be awarded medical expenses, property damage and loss if income.

In the case of compensatory damages, the plaintiff or person who has filed the claim would only be allowed to claim the amount that they have lost and nothing more.

In order for a person to be awarded the damages, they must prove that they have suffered a harm or negligence that is a recognized as being illegal in nature. A judge will determined if this is the case and if it is, will decide on the amount to be awarded. Also, general damages may be awarded for any pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of wages or future wages a person has incurred as a result of the incident.

Types of Damages Awarded

Medical expenses can mount when one is seriously inured. All bills incurred during treatment and all future bills that are incurred could be considered compensatory damages. A plaintiff is entitled to all expenses out of pocket during their injury. An attorney will be able to predict the future medical needs and the value of the plaintiff’s claim to determine a monetary award.

When personal property becomes damaged due to an injury, the plaintiff may be awarded damages for the repair of the damaged property. Personal injury cases commonly are linked to automobile accidents, where the costs to repair and the loss of the cars value may be compensated. Also, if the car was completely totaled and the plaintiff needs an alternative method of transportation they may be entitled to compensation for this as well.

The determination of a properties value will be up to an appraiser that the attorney will hire for that particular service. The damages will be awarded on the value of the car in its current state or by its resale market value determined by the appraiser.

If a loss of income has occurred due to the damage of property, compensation for lost wages will be factored into the suit. This is commonly referred to as “lost wages�?. If in the case of death caused by the injury, the family of the deceased may file a claim for the loss wages the deceased would have made.

Pain and Suffering

Physical pain and suffering of someone who has been injured due to no fault of their own can be a difficult claim to prove. Attorneys who are well schooled in these types of claims will contact the plaintiff’s personal doctor and get the needed medical information such as how much medication, rehabilitation, medications and future medical visits a person will need. Friends and family may also be interviewed to support the claim that the plaintiff is suffering and not functioning normally, or has a decreased enjoyment of their daily life.

Mental and emotional distress damages are much like pain and suffering damages but are much more difficult to prove. A person who is suffering mentally may exhibit signs of shock, fear, confusion and or sorrow and following strict guidelines, must prove all of these without a doubt to a court judge.

Guidelines and other Damages Awarded

The guidelines that some states have instituted are referred to as the “zone of danger: which is a test that determines just how closely the plaintiff was involved with the accident. Another limit placed on these kinds of cases is the “physical manifestation rule�? which must prove the plaintiff has been emotionally scarred by the incident and is exhibiting a depressive state or been emotionally affected enough to cause physical duress such as loss of appetite, ulcers or stress headaches. This must be medically documented as well and be caused solely by the accident.

A rare type of damage that can be recovered in damages is the loss of consortium. Loss of consortium refers to the sexual health of a person and the inability to engage in the same normal activities that they did prior to the accident. This type of compensatory damage is generally far less than the common compensatory damages awarded but in cases when a person is paralyzed, the amount of the compensations due can be significant.

Another one of the less common damages awarded are the loss opportunity damages. These damages refer to missed or lost opportunities that would have been due to a person had an accident not happened. This case must be sufficiently supported and can be considered conjectural and this could damage the credibility of the case. If such opportunities contained a contract and the judge deemed a breech, the plaintiff may be awarded damages to restore whatever monetary value was due to them.

A medical malpractice attorney will be able to determine witch type of damages you will be able to file for and help you win the case with the best compensation for your injuries.