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Types of Compensation Available in Personal Injury Cases

Posted on in Personal Injury

compensation injury, compensatory damages, Crystal Lake personal injury attorney, Illinois personal injury lawyer, special compensatory damages, types of compensationThe damage phase is a key portion of a trial. This phase occurs after it is determined whether the defendant should be held responsible for the plaintiff's harm. In the damage phase, the attorneys focus on quantifying the plaintiff's harm so that the jury can decide how much compensation the plaintiff deserves. In many ways, this portion of the trial is the most important, as it may lead to payment for the plaintiff to cover costs of medical bills, lost wages, and other harm suffered.

Special Compensatory Damages

The easiest type of damages to quantify are special compensatory damages. These are damages that relate to financial harms that the plaintiff has suffered because of the defendant's carelessness. For instance, if the defendant struck the plaintiff with his car and broke the defendant's leg, then the defendant would be able to receive compensation for the medical bills related to the broken leg and any complications that arose from it.

Similarly, if the plaintiff was in a car at the time, the defendant, or more likely the defendant's insurance company, would also have to cover the cost of repairing the car. However, these damages go beyond obvious economic harms. If the plaintiff missed work because of the accident, then the defendant must also cover the victim's lost earnings. If the victim's earning potential is permanently altered because of the injury, then compensatory damages may also cover future earnings.

Other Damages

Plaintiffs may also have access to other damages beyond special compensatory damages. There are general compensatory damages. Like special compensatory damages, these damages cover harms done to the plaintiff. They differ in that they are non-financial harms. These are often referred to as pain and suffering damages or emotional damages. These damages are much more difficult to put a particular value on, but they nevertheless redress an actual harm that was done to the plaintiff.

The final damage type includes punitive damages. These damages relate more to the defendant's actions than to the plaintiff's harms. The idea is that these damages punish the defendant's for particularly reprehensible conduct. The Illinois sample jury instructions set the standard for these damages as whether the defendant's conduct was “willful and wanton.” In addition to punishing the defendant for particularly bad behavior, the existence of these damages also serves as an extra measure of deterrence. If other, future parties know that their misconduct will be punished even more harshly, they will be less likely to engage in that sort of behavior.

If you have recently been the victim of another person's carelessness, reach out to a Crystal Lake personal injury attorney today. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to help you enforce your rights.

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