GENERAL LAW INFORMATION - SECTION IV
In a personal injury case, the object is to place the victim in the
same position they would have been in if the injury had not occurred.
The way this is done is with money. The law cannot make the victim
physically, mentally or emotionally better. All the law can do is to
financially compensate the victim for the injuries they have suffered
and what they are reasonably certain to suffer in the future. There
are 3 basic types of damages:
- Special Damages: Special damages include medical bills, wage
loss, out of pocket expenses and property damage. These type of damages
may include past and future losses.
- General Damages: These damages are more difficult to determine
as there is no set amount or receipts to show as to the amount of one’s
general damages. An example of general damages is an amount of damages
for the pain and suffering a victim endures as a result of an accident.
There are many factors that may go into determining general damages
including the severity of the injury, whether the injury is temporary
or permanent, if temporary, the length of time it takes to recover and
the difficulty of the rehabilitation and the traumatic impact the accident
may have on one’s psychological well being. These are just a few examples
of the elements that are often considered in determining the amount
of general damages that one is entitled to. Like special damages, general
damages may include past and future losses.
- Punitive Damages: These damages are relatively rare. The purpose
of punitive damages are to punish a defendant, rather than to compensate
a plaintiff. When a case is strictly based on a negligence claim, punitive
damages are not allowed. Punitive damages can only be awarded in cases
where the defendant acted intentionally, recklessly or maliciously.